NEW EU COMMISSIONER FOR THE digital economy and society Günther Oettinger has followed his predecessor Neelie Kroes in a fondness for modern methods of communication. It is not clear, however, if he is a ‘digital native’ or just somebody who has been advised to get online by his officials. Having revealed that ‘I go online every day’ he followed up with the proud boast that ‘Sometimes I even put my own appointments into the calendar using my iPhone’. Unfazed by the lukewarm reception for these remarks he has already held a question and answer session on Twitter but got help from a German newswire to process the answers. He showed an interest in new rural broadband networks, though refused to say whether the EU could afford to fund them, and signalled a possibly tougher line on Google ‘we want to bring a degree of fairness into the relationship between the users, Google and its competitors’. There are rumours that the Commission will attempt to break Google’s operations in Europe into smaller parts. On the concept of ‘net neutrality’, the present situation where it is not possible for big internet users like video on-demand web sites to pay more for a faster connection, he sat on the fence. ‘Clearly-defined services could be made available at a higher performance level for an additional charge’ he hinted but ‘it must not lead to a degradation of general Internet standards’. Apparently calendar appointments are not the end of his cyber-talents. He has about 40 apps on his iPhone and his favourite predicts the weather as ‘I do not always want to take a coat with me if there is no need’.
Digital Commissioner Oettinger gets to grips with his new responsibilities