IGF 2023 Town Hall #142 Lost in Translation: Brussels Effect and platform regulation

Issue(s)

Governing Digital Economy
Harmonising Global Digital Infrastructure
Multistakeholderism

Round Table - 60 Min

Description

The European Union's Digital Services Act (DSA) has attracted worldwide attention even before being fully implemented and is already perceived as a staple of platform regulation in other regions of the globe. However, some of its structural features – including the “duty of care” and the “notification of illicit content” – may not necessarily travel well or are likely to require some degree of adaptation by other jurisdictions, especially in the Global South.
To better illustrate this challenge, the present Town Hall session will take as a starting point the Brazilian draft bill on Internet freedom, accountability and transparency (Projeto de Lei nº 2.630/2020) and debate the challenges that the “Brussels Effect” of the DSA may bring. The bill gained momentum after the invasion of Brasília on January 8th of 2023 and was reformulated to reflect some of DSA's core elements. An analysis by ITS Rio concluded that as much as 44% of the bill was changed in the couple of weeks leading into Congress' decision to mark the draft as urgent, accelerating the legislative process.
In order to grapple with the challenges raised by this phenomenon, the organizers will bring together specialists in Internet regulation and governance from Europe, India and Brazil to discuss the influence and potential impacts of DSA's provisions across the Global South from the perspective of the so-called Brussels Effect.
The main objective of this 2023 IGF Town Hall session is to spark a necessary conversation and raise awareness to how much may be lost in translation throughout this process, creating undesired pressure points for platform regulation in the Global South. To make the most of this collaborative experience, the discussion will focus on three pillars: (1) the platforms' duty of care and risk assessment in content moderation systems; (2) the creation of a specific and autonomous administrative entity to monitor and implement the regulatory framework; and (3) the notification of potentially illicit content by users (notice and action).

Building on our experience hosting a hybrid IGF Town Hall session in the last years (2021 and 2022) and given that this format is intended to be interactive and promote engagement around Internet governance topics and even controversial issues, we propose a two-part structure. First, speakers will share their insights and opinions on platform regulation and how this debate outside the European Union may be impacted by the Brussels Effect, with a focus on the Global South. This will set the stage for our second phase, when attendees will be asked to voice their thoughts and impressions on how the DSA may or may not translate into platform regulation strategies for the Global South, focusing on the three pillars described above.
To guarantee broad participation of the public, we will also use participatory tools such as Jamboard and Miro, where attendees will be able to share their thoughts and ideas and the online moderator will compile them “on the go” during the session. The moderators will also lay out ground rules for on-site and remote interaction through video/voice in order to ensure equal time of participation as well as diversity of participants. The interaction between speakers will be previously agreed upon in a pre-session meeting hosted by the organizers named above. Moreover, the moderators will also consider the possibility of conducting live polls among the participants to have a better understanding of how the public is reacting to different ideas and suggestions that may emerge throughout the session.

Organizers

🔒Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio)
Wolfgang Schultz - Research Director of the Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft (HIIG) - Academia - Europe

Carlos Affonso Souza - Director of the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio) - Civil Society - Latin America

Celina Bottino - Director of the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio) - Civil Society - Latin America

João Victor Archegas - Senior Researcher at the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio) - Civil Society - Latin America

Cristina Alves - Researcher at the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio) - Civil Society - Latin America

Speakers

Wolfgang Schultz - Research Director of the Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft (HIIG) - Academia - Europe

Celina Bottino - Director of the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio) - Civil Society - Latin America

Swati Punia - Program Manager at the Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University Delhi - Civil Society/Academia - South Asia

Onsite Moderator

Carlos Affonso Souza - Director of the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio) - Civil Society - Latin America

Online Moderator

João Victor Archegas - Senior Researcher at the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio) - Civil Society - Latin America

Rapporteur

Cristina Alves - Researcher at the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio) - Civil Society - Latin America

SDGs

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Targets: → Goal 9: The structuring principles and values that guide platform regulation across the globe, especially those springing from the European Union, will have a considerable impact on the development of our digital infrastructure and must be carefully tailored to promote, instead of quash, innovation and digital rights. This is a similar debate to the one that has been unfolding since the 90s and culminated in the adoption of safe harbor provisions worldwide.
→ Goal 16: Platform regulation is deemed by different countries as indispensable to protect the rule of law and democracy both at a national and international level, especially when one considers challenges such as disinformation, hate speech and data protection. Moreover, a balanced and well-designed regulatory framework is essential to promote transparency and accountability while safeguarding human rights and individual freedoms.