11 months ago

Digital EU: the Good, the Bad — and the Ugly

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The European Union has impressive digital ambitions and an equally impressive array of initiatives, proposals, directives and regulations, all designed to make the bloc ‘fit for the digital age’.


DIGITAL INNOVATION EU data protection supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski: ‘We are forgetting for which reasons we were collecting the data’. Familiar sight? Yes European consumers are increasingly using digital tools to get information on food and drinks! * * Survey performed by Appinio in September 2022 including the responses of 5,000 consumers from 5 European countries: the Czech Republic, Italy, France, Spain and Germany which aims to track down migrants attempting to enter through Turkey. It is operated by the Hellenic Police. Greek authorities describe it as an all-seeing system that can provide real-time and accurate information. Now Athens is testing EU-funded drones with artificial intelligence to track people seeking refuge. Another big budget boost went to the EU’s Integrated Border Management Fund, which increased to €7.3bn. One of its goals is to detect irregular migration crossings, including by setting up large scale IT systems for border management. Behind those figures lies a wider malaise over migration, coupled with EU-wide policy initiatives tying asylum to geopolitical tensions. None of the money, for example, will go towards helping search and rescues in the Mediterranean Sea. Instead, the clampdown on the borders in places like Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and elsewhere is most visibly manifested by walls and fences aimed at keeping people out. Border guards, for instance in Latvia, used force to push people back into Belarus last year, according to Amnesty International. The focus may be on these physical barriers. But while tech surveillance systems, artificial intelligence technologies, and security databases used by EU and national authorities to gauge a person’s intent, background, and origin may be less visible, they are very much part and parcel of ‘Fortress Europe’. “Fundamental rights are definitely right now under stress,” Wiewiórowski warns. About Nikolaj Nielsen Nikolaj was born in Denmark but spent a better part of his life in Belgium, France and the United States. He joined EUobserver in 2012, where he primarily covers migration, human rights and transparency issues. His reporting for EUobserver has taken him to Algeria, Belarus, Egypt, Lebanon, Moldova, Russia, Transnistria, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine and off the Libyan coast. 8 in 10 are used to scanning QR codes DID YOU KNOW? EU law already allows wines & aromatised wines to communicate their ingredients and nutrition declaration through the use of QR-codes and e-labels. IN THE UPCOMING REVISION OF EU FOOD LABELLING RULES, THE EU SHOULD: Allow & regulate the use of e-labels on all food & drink products (as is already the case for wine). Let’s support the digital transition & make EU rules on food information fit for the 21st century!! 75% have scanned a QR code on a food or drink product U-LABEL is a unique digital platform that enables consumers to access product specific information about wines & spirits, anytime, anywhere, in their own language. SCAN THIS QR CODE TO SEE THE WIDTH OF INFORMATION AVAILABLE 95% find QR codes useful to get detailed product information #YesWeScan

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