SxSW + Cebit highlights: Can we trust the internet?
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Two major international debates about the state of the internet took place this week. The South by Southwest (SxSW) festival in Texas and Cebit in Hanover. Both addressed a growing lack of trust in communication technology.

At yesterday’s SxSW livestream event in Austin, Texas, Edward Snowden spoke to a packed-out crowd and audience of thousands of online viewers via Google hangout. Running through seven proxies to conceal his location, the connection was wobbly, but his statements was clear.

“I would do it again.”

Following praise from internet-founder Tim Berners-Lee via Twitter, the NSA whistleblower claimed that his information leak has had a positive impact on “the communications not just of Americans, but everyone in the world.”

He went on to underline the importance of faith in technology: “we rely on the ability to trust our communications, and without that, we don’t have anything.“

Meanwhile at the Cebit tech summit in Hanover, European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes said that Snowden’s intelligence leak was a “wake-up call” that the EU cannot afford to “snooze through”.

“Trust can never again be taken for granted.”

Speaking to an audience of influential European policy makers such as David Cameron and Angela Merkel, Kroes also addressed the issue of trust in technology.

In the wake of the revelation of Angela Merkel’s telephone being bugged, Kroes said that this trust must be repaired to get users to take a “leap of faith” into a new data-centred and connectivity-driven world.

Chief executive of Volkswagen also spoke about the importance of data security in the automobile industry.

“I clearly say yes to big data, yes to greater security and convenience, but no to paternalism and Big Brother.”

Feature image: The logo/embleme of the US American secret service „NSA – National Security Administration“ via Shutterstock. Copyright: 360b

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