EU citizens are increasingly using digital tools and the internet to work, learn, socialise, to interact with administrations or companies, and to access services such as health and culture. Access to the internet and the use of digital tools is no longer a novelty. For citizens, companies, organisations, and governments in today’s society, they have become essential.
The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated this trend. The creation of a strong and shared vision for a digital economy and society is more important than ever.
The publication by the European Commission in March 2021 of the Communication on the ‘Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade’ outlines the goal of reaching a ‘human-centered, sustainable and more prosperous digital future for Europe by 2030’. The communication announced a proposal for a declaration on digital principles to define a European way for the digital transition, launching a broad consultation and engagement exercise on a set of digital principles.
The overall aim of a declaration on digital principles would be to promote a values-based European digital landscape to help nurture more democratic and inclusive societies, ensuring a level playing field for all EU citizens to access and leverage the full potential of an increasingly digital world.
The Special Eurobarometer 518
The Special Eurobarometer 518 – Digital Rights and Principles survey was carried out by the Kantar network in the 27 EU Member States between the 16th of September and the 15th of October 2021. Some 26,530 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed in their mother tongue. This survey was commissioned by the European Commission, Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT) in the framework of the Communication on the ‘Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade’.
The methodology used is that of Eurobarometer surveys as carried out for the Directorate-General for Communication (“Media monitoring and Eurobarometer” Unit). However, in order to run fieldwork during the COVID pandemic, it was necessary to change the methodology in some countries (total or partial online interviews in some countries).
In a nutshell
81% of EU respondents think that the Internet and digital tools will play an important role in the future. Moreover, 82% finds it useful for the European Commission to define and promote a common European vision on European digital rights and principles to ensure a successful digital transformation.
- The first part of this report focuses on the perception among EU citizens of the role that digital tools and the internet will play in their lives, and their expected impact in the future.
- The second part of the report focuses on the awareness of EU citizens on the application and protection of rights in the online environment.
- The third part of this report explores the perception among respondents regarding a common European vision to digital rights and principles.
A large majority of EU citizens surveyed considers it useful for the European Commission to define and promote a common European vision on digital rights and principles. When asked, in this survey, about the importance of some specific example principles, a large majority of respondents considered all the mentioned principles as important to be included in a list of digital principles. More specifically, respondents considered having principles on the protection of children in the online environment, on the confidentiality of communications, and on a safe and trusted online environment where people are protected from cybercrime and illegal content and goods, as the most important to be included in a list of digital principles.
Download the report here.Photo by Cosmin Serban on Unsplash