In a debate discussing recent cyber-attacks against the media, GUE/NGL MEPs underlined the need to preserve internet freedom.

German MEP Connie Ernst, citing examples of the various media outlets that were hacked, said: “We need to agree, we need to call things by their name, these were hacker attacks, there are criminals behind these attacks and it happens all the time, for these criminals it is cheap and easy. “

She continued: “There are loopholes in software and we need to draw attention to that, we also need a new level of protection in order to provide better security. While the Council and Commission talk about minimum standards and the 'obligation to report', the intelligence services are gaining ever more ground.”

MEP Ernst concluded: “Intelligence services are lowering our security standards and we must act, we are asking for free and open source software, we need encryption technology. Please don't pay lip service to this, do something.”

Spanish Izquierda Plural MEP Javier Couso commented: “I utterly condemn cyber terrorism and express my solidarity with the Belgian and French media who were attacked by the so-called Islamic State.

“These attacks are nothing new; this has been happening in Spain for some time and even anonymous hackers are helping in the fight against cyber-terrorism. It is hugely important that we learn something from this but the lesson must not be that we attack people's freedom.”

“We need to make sure there is no repetition of spying on millions of European citizens, sometimes carried out by our own governments, which took place under so-called 'emergency legislation'.

“These actions undermine the same freedoms we are trying to protect. They are a threat to all of us; they operate outside the law, don't respect the rule of law and don't respect democracy.”

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