‘I go online every day,’ incoming EU digital commissioner says

20 Oct 2014

Gunter Oettinger, the incoming EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda. Image via Europa Press Centre

The incoming EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda Gunther Oettinger has strived to quell concerns about his grasp on technology by telling an interviewer he ‘goes online every day’.

The 60-year-old and current energy commissioner for the EU is set to replace much-heralded Neelie Kroes who during her reign as digital commissioner had been rather vocal and passionate about developing digital skill sets in Europe’s youth.

Now however, the next commissioner has done little to encourage those expecting a similar output from Oettinger after he was interviewed in the German regional newspaper, Passauer Neue Presse, showing a less than technical grasp of technology: “I go online every day. Sometimes I even put my own appointments into the calendar using my iPhone. When I am searching for information, I look on the internet. It facilitates things enormously.”

Taking office on 1 November, Oettinger seemingly has a lot to prove as this is not the first time since he was named as the next digital commissioner last September that he has said something that shows a lack of understanding of the world in which technology operates.

Last month, commenting on the release of hundreds of celebrities’ photos in the iCloud breach, he dismissed the idea that their privacy was compromised: “If someone is stupid enough as a celebrity to take a nude photo of themselves and put it online, they surely can’t expect us to protect them. Stupidity is something you can only partly save people from.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic