IGF 2022 Town Hall #60 Regulating Algorithms: what if – if not - and if so, how?

Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (14:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (15:30 UTC)
Large Briefing Room

Panel - Auditorium - 60 Min


What if.... And What if Not? ... And if so, how? - A Journey through algorithms, their impact and possible regulation Algorithms are an inherent part of our everyday life. Nowadays, users in social media platforms and search engines are neither informed nor aware of the algorithms that determine what they see or the order in which they see content. In a very real sense, algorithms are the gatekeepers to information. Very few persons would realize the impact algorithmic techniques have on their daily lives, including decisions made by their governments. Content governance by online platforms shapes and arbitrates political and public discourse. As the way online information is curated and moderated affects global peace, stability and comprehensive security, it is essential that policies – and their enforcement – are in line with international human rights standards such as the Right to Privacy and Data Protection as well as Freedom of Expression. In recent times, some of the largest companies and providers have developed schemes that include a human rights perspective to classify algorithms and the way they work. But do we know how effective they are? Are we sure that they follow the same standard? What will happen in the near future if algorithms continue to be developed and deployed without transparency or oversights? Are we asking for more transparency or something more? Do algorithms need to be regulated or can we trust private companies to voluntarily adhere to transparency and accountability principles? If regulation is needed, in which sectors, and what does that look like? What are best practices - if any, what are possible ways and what should be guiding elements? This high-level panel will put a spotlight on algorithms and their impact on human rights. Panelists and participants will discuss the need for transparency and regulation. Panelists will present analysis and research results, current approaches and best practices as well as perspectives from various regions of the world. Panelists and participants are invited to share their perspectives, their ideas and concerns. Strong partners - RFoM which has recently published a policy manual "Spotlight on the Impact of AI on Freedom of Expression", the ICNL with suggestions on how to regulate algorithms, and Germany as Chair of FOC-TFAI will set up a panel that provides substantial input. Views from business, EU and perspectives from Ghana and Costa Rica will complete the picture. This multistakeholder approach will be essential to develop a contribution on this pertinent issue which can provide input to shaping the Global Digital Compact.

The moderator onsite will encourage participants to get involved in the session. Using the chat function will ensure that everyone can actively pose questions or comment which the moderator online will feed into the session. After the inputs provided by speakers, the moderator will open the floor to the audience.


Federal Foreign Ministry of Germany as Chair of Freedom Online Coalition´s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence
- OSCE RFoM, Intergovernmental Organization - ICNL, WEOG - Ghana (Cyber Security Authority), African Group


Introduction and Moderation: Regine Grienberger, German Cyber Ambassador


  • Teresa Ribeiro, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Intergovernmental Organization (online)
  • Shabnam Mojtahedi, Senior Advisor nternational Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), WEOG (in person)
  • Cornelia Kutterer, Microsoft Europe, WEOG (online)
  • Osei Baah – International Cooperation Officer, Cyber Security Authority, Ghana (online)
Onsite Moderator

Dr. Regine Grienberger, MFA Germany, current Chair of the FOC – Task Force on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights, Government, WEOG

Online Moderator

- John Reyels, MFA Germany, Head of Intl.Cyber Staff


- Cordula Geinitz, MFA Germany, Intl.Cyber Staff


9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Targets: 4.7, 9, 16.10 This panel is highly related to internet governance by showing the impacts caused by algorithms and discussing options to improve their transparency and accountability.