New EU digi tsar survives Twitter grillling

Ansip takes questions of 140 chars or less

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Europe’s new digi Super-Commissioner Andrus Ansip threw himself into the lions’ den today with a public Twitter chat.

Challenged at his Parliamentary hearing by MEP Julia Reda to talk to the public, Ansip put his money where his mouth is and attempted to wade through hundreds of questions on Twitter.

Chief among questioners’ concerns was net neutrality, with tens of tweets asking the new digital tsar how he would handle it. "Steelie" Neelie Kroes’ successor was certainly on-message, declaring: “Net neutrality should be a basic right for internet users.”

He continued: “The principle of net neutrality should be enshrined in law through the new rules on Telecoms Single Market. That means no blocking, throttling or discriminatory traffic management."

Copyright reform was another hot topic. Here Ansip also follows the Kroes message that a Digital Single Market will cure all ills. He said it would “make it easier for companies to operate across the EU” and added that “geoblocking should not exist in a true Digital Single Market”.

Ansip also wants to get coding on the educational curriculum, fix the safe harbour agreement with the US and promote open source. Some questions he didn’t manage to answer included: “Will American tech giants be made to comply with new EU data laws if they hold EU citizens' data?” “Do you support the use by ordinary people of strong encryption in their communications, data storage and wider internet use?” and (from this Reg hack): “To what degree will you get involved with the Google antitrust case?”

However, he has promised an interview to The Register, so we’ll hold him to that. He also said he would follow up on the questions he couldn’t answer on his blog.

Finally he said: “This Twitter chat is a first time experience for me. I'll tell my colleague @GOettingerEU about it.”

Gunther Oettinger is effectively Ansip’s number two and famously digi-phobic, so don’t hold your breath for #AskOettinger. ®

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