Nathalie Van Raemdonck
| Nathalie Van Raemdonck |
|Alma mater||VUB, Free university of Amsterdam|
|Interests|| • conspiracy theories|
She holds a MsC in Political Science from the University of Brussels (VUB) and an LLM in international security from the Free university of Amsterdam (VU), plus a summer course at the Belgian Royal Military Academy. Prior to joining the EUISS, Van Raemdonck worked for the Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium, focusing on improving national capacity.
She is an analyst at The European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) is the Union’s Agency analysing foreign, security and defence policy issues. Its core mission is to assist the EU and its member states in the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as well as other external action of the Union.
As an analyst for implementation of the EU security policy, she has a direct input on the legal framework for union-wide censorship. Even though disguising it in cleverly formulated ambiguous phrases ('they make us do it'), she clearly advocates an increase censorship, justified with her concern for control over unpleasant (pro-rape) net communities, and her wish to stifle or marginalize any criticism of vaccines. Mirroring the official US narrative, including the militarization of language ("arming us" "Russia’s Information War") she also advocates or envisages a censorship of WikiLeaks and conspiracy theories:
Now that Putin is also successful with his information war abroad; the West has a problem. Freedom of expression is a core value in an open and free society. Unfortunately, this is also the Achilles heel of the West, and the Russians have made good use of it. Not even a long time ago, WikiLeaks was a climax of free information gathering, holding those in power accountable. In recent months, by distributing only information extracted from Russian hackers, Assange became an indirect spokesperson for Putin.
Obama and co. know that Putin played the game like that. But if they admit that there is a problem with the free flow of information, they must also exercise control over all information. You can only beat the Russians in the information war by putting a tighter control on the information in your own country. Exactly what Putin wants.
The West is already moving in that direction. Counternarratives against radicalisation, restricting hate speech and banning fake news: efforts are finally moving in that direction. And how can you be opposed to it, when you see what conspiracy theories are currently getting a stage?
The question on my mind is what direction my native Europe will take. Are there means of arming us against the next information war without having to give up our online freedoms? I do not believe in it, but I sincerely hope that I am wrong.
Or on banning online communities, still pushing censorship while in the same paragraph claiming it isn't the "solution":
Letting dark communities exist has consequences. This isn’t just about incels or reddit, it’s about the spread of ideas that can be toxic.
What should we do then? I’m still not sure banning or censorship is the solution to everything. I always thought people will just find the community or information somewhere else, and you’re basically ignoring the problem. I am however becoming more convinced that allowing a community to fester in its hatred out in the open is not healthy. Banning means the community gets pushed deeper into the web. While we lose oversight and transparency, the toxic ideas also become less accessible, are less normalized, and are harder to stumble upon. It reaches only the most extreme individuals in our society, instead of poisoning a whole generation.