Messages from Trieste

Focus Area 1
Digital sovereignty – is Europe going in the right direction to keep the Internet safe and open?

Rapporteur: Marco Lotti, Geneva Internet Platform

Messages:

  1. The regulation of digital technologies has brought more clarity to the economic market, thus fostering the growth of businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the digital economy. When developing new regulations, arguments for and against introducing new frameworks need to be carefully monitored and weighed to avoid creating barriers to smaller economic players. In regulating the Internet infrastructure, we should avoid collateral damage to the services and operators regarding economic costs and availability and avoid fragmentation of the global critical Internet infrastructure. Any regulatory initiatives aimed at exerting sovereignty in a particular field must be well examined to be sure they do not harm human rights online, do not harm the open and global nature of the Internet, and are in line with the democratic, multistakeholder principles.
  2. Implementing digital sovereignty should not be understood as building a fortress around Europe but as enhancing connectivity in a way that allows states to keep individuals and their rights at the centre. Digital technologies impact the enjoyment of individual rights and different countries have different values and visions of the Internet and its future. While keeping and promoting dialogue with these players, European policymakers need to anchor new policies in the European values system, human rights, and the rule of law. The European vision of digital sovereignty should also remove barriers for businesses and foster economic growth, as is the case for the EU single market, which strives to harmonise rules across member states.
  3. A careful assessment of the impact of new technologies and tools on human rights should be carried out to avoid violations of individual rights.

Sessions assigned to Focus Area 1:
Plenaries

Workshop

Focus Area 2
Reality check – do we implement effective regulations and set the right standards to solve the problems of the future?

Rapporteur: Andrijana Gavrilovic, Head of Diplomatic and Policy Reporting, DiploFoundation & Geneva Internet Platform

Messages:

  1. Dialogue and understanding of the need for standards are crucial; policymakers who engage in dialogue understand the problems and are more open to reflecting on the limitations from the regulatory perspective and what are the limitations of standards. Governments should understand the incentives and what are the needs. We need governmental regulation which will encourage (and in some cases incentivise) industries to implement standards into their products. Relevant stakeholders should seek to engage with and exert influence on the formulation of soft laws and guidelines as they tend to be more efficient than the long legislative processes and are effective to some extent.
  2. Green transition and digital transformation are two different areas, with the digital transition being more of a tool for green transition and not an end in itself. There needs to be a common methodology on how we account for the emissions and the environmental impact of digital technologies to be able to look at the entire lifecycle of any digital product. Furthermore, common methodologies are also necessary to measure and compare the enabling effects of digital solutions in order to describe their net-environmental benefit.
  3. Regarding a global cybercrime treaty, we need to leave sufficient room for member states because their legal and criminal justice systems are different. When we formulate a common minimum on the most important elements such as substantive law, procedural law, conditions, and safeguards, the whole framework would provide added value and could be used effectively for international cooperation purposes.

Sessions assigned to Focus Area 2:
Plenaries

Workshops

Focus Area 3
Coming next – outlook on new technologies and can existing governance bodies cope with them?

Rapporteur: Marco Lotti, Geneva Internet Platform

Messages:

  1. The interconnected nature of the Internet and the need for resilience favours a multistakeholder approach when discussing the problems and when identifying solutions regarding the Internet. However, the current escalating geopolitical tensions are challenging multistakeholderism. There is a need to take a fresh look at the multistakeholder approach. One of the issues to consider is the inclusion of the voices of youth, who are still underrepresented in Internet governance debates.
  2. After agreeing on global principles and values to guide AI development (such as trust, transparency, and human-centred AI), there is a need to let regions and countries adapt these principles to their own realities through concrete documents (e.g. toolboxes) targeted at policymakers and other actors. In this process, cross-regional dialogue is needed to ensure harmonisation. Potential risks related to AI need to be examined holistically, and humans need to be in command.
  3. Digital identity solutions need to be measured not only by their usefulness and functionality but, more importantly, by how they respect and reflect fundamental human rights and common responsibilities. Any digital identity solution needs to be technology-agnostic to ensure greater global interoperability and foster greater user adoption.
  4. There is more involved than just the Internet as a global communication network. The current expansion of space activities pushes the development of new communication technologies beyond our planet. For these new technologies, new standards and protocols are needed. To ensure that these networks and protocols remain open, a multistakeholder approach is needed.

Sessions assigned to Focus Area 3:
Plenaries

Workshops

Focus Area 4
Internet in troubled times

Rapporteur: Andrijana Gavrilovic, Head of Diplomatic and Policy Reporting, DiploFoundation & Geneva Internet Platform

Messages:

  1. Europe needs to put effort into preserving a globally interoperable Internet for all, to avoid divergences that may cause even greater geopolitical conflicts. One of the ways to reduce the possibility of a splinternet is to avoid incompatible regulations for Internet infrastructure. Another opportunity to avoid fragmentation is to use the potential of the upcoming UN Global Digital Compact and the appointment of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, which could prioritise the global nature of the Internet and explicitly focus on the perseverance of digital human rights.
  2. The implementation of the principles of the Declaration on the Future of the Internet (DFI) will be the key process that would need more engagement from countries and the stakeholders. Netmundial and previous best practices are a good reference to improve the engagement of countries from the global South. The initial partners will contribute to DFI implementation, starting with a multistakeholder conference to be held in the next months and continuing to gather input, feedback, and other elements from Internet governance communities (IGF, EuroDIG, other regional IGFs) through dedicated sessions. It was suggested that the DFI could be used as a preparatory input to the Global Digital Compact, and that it can contribute to the implementation of the joint statements which were published by the Freedom Online Coalition in previous years. Raising awareness about the DFI and its principles, as well as developing the skills of those who will implement the DFI in signatory countries is important.
  3. We need a variety of measures to counter disinformation: regulatory measures, trustworthy content, more support of sustainable and independent journalism, a more informed citizenry, fact-checking initiatives and investment in digital and media literacy. Any response to disinformation must comply with human rights and European values, such as democracy and the rule of law.

Sessions assigned to Focus Area 4:
Plenaries

Workshop

YOUthDIG Messages

1. Artificial Intelligence in a Natural World

  • Address the existing bias and data gaps in terms of gender, race, geography and disability through the exposure of the methodological process behind the data collection and processing.
  • Recommend the open and collaborative forecast of potential societal impact of the Al systems through multistakeholder impact assessments.
  • Request a change in the scope of the debate around accountability from transparency to contestability, where users are also included as stakeholders.
  • Urge to enhance the guarantees for users to safeguard individual and collective digital rights.

2. Envisioning the Future of Social Media

  • Introduce a framework that encourages social, and discourages antisocial behaviour in the digital world. This can be applied cross-border and can be the basis for development of further legislation.
  • Develop a European-based and owned social media platform, that facilitates and encourages democratic participation and where users remain in control of their personal data.
  • Encourage the flagging of misleading online content and the verification of credible and accurate content by a collaboration between moderators and users.
  • Introduce media literacy mechanisms to ensure society and users are informed about the identification of fake-news.

3. Sustainability and ICTs

(ICTs refers to Information and Communication Technologies)

  • On the role of academia: we stress the need to further increase investment and funding to foster research and innovation connecting the digital, social, and green transitions; further improve outreach strategies to communicate funding opportunities and overcome institutional, geographic, socioeconomic, and other persistent barriers; and provide financial mechanisms to diversify and expand the existing and emerging partnerships and networks worldwide.
  • On the continuous overproduction and overconsumption of data services, processing, and storage, as well as of electronic devices and online services: we strongly demand that the 3R approach be an integral element in Internet governance and digital policy dialogues and decision-making. Moreover, acknowledging the decisive role of the end-user or consumer, yet noting the persistent digital literacy gap, we encourage a critical perspective in the use of data and technical devices, while also supporting efforts to design accessible guidelines to learn how to make efficient and sustainable use of smart technologies.
  • On the application of ICTs for socioeconomic development: we strongly recommend forecasting and critically evaluating their use and impact in sectors of the economy where their application is still in its inception, such as (but not limited to) administration, agriculture, retailing and e-commerce, infrastructure, urban planning, justice, and healthcare. Furthermore, noting the rising trends towards platform and remote work, and their influence on youth in particular, we recommend that intergenerational multistakeholder efforts in Internet governance also discuss the digital, socioeconomic, and environmental dimensions of the role of lCTs in the future of work.
  • On the use of ICTs in the educational sector: we recommend that European countries allocate a minimum of 1% of their GDP to research and adaptation of innovative and sustainable lCTs for learning purposes. Moreover, further investment should be directed towards strengthening partnerships within and beyond Europe to foster knowledge-transfer of ICT innovations applied to teaching and life-long professional development, and its link to climate education.

4. Navigating the Cryptocurrency Waters

  • Include digital financial education into secondary education and national financial literacy strategies.
  • Increase allocation of research funds to support the development of more energy-efficient crypto mining techniques.
  • Consider progressive taxing of gains from cryptocurrencies to specifically address inequalities caused by the use of cryptocurrency.
  • Encourage inclusion of youth in discussions with crypto communities about the respective roles of regulation, soft law, and standards to raise awareness about the risks related to the technology.
  • Promote the employment of Know Your Client and Anti-Money Laundering tools by major crypto currency exchange platforms to increase the level of trust towards the platforms.
  • Promote youth-friendly language explaining the functioning and the guarantees – present or absent – at the crypto currency exchange platforms.

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