This year’s topic is about the role of parliamentarians in shaping digital trust, as we witness an increasing lack of public trusts, or confidence, around privacy, security, consumer and human rights protection. However, trust is a vital element for resilient and sustainable economic growth and recovery.
Lack of trust can serve as the rationale for an increasing number of compelled data localisation measures globally, which may result in increasingly fragmented national approaches to data governance. Tackling this lack of trust must be a collective effort to ensure that regional, national or industry initiatives, however well-meaning, do not further fragment the Internet. Trust is strengthened when governments adopt robust and comprehensive commitments to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, including the fundamental right to privacy.
The fast pace of digital technology development can challenge the level of trust towards new technologies if our governance systems do not keep up. Artificial intelligence holds immense potential for our economies, societies, and the planet. Applied well and consciously, AI can be a benefit to all by increasing efficiency, support resource management, and much more. However, the ability to create believable content at such large scale and low cost can rapidly turn into a threat. The fast development of AI is an example of how the gap between innovation and governance can easily increase. Policy and legislation ideally need to anticipate and respond quickly to foster innovation while ensuring digital technologies, such as AI, can be trusted.
From a lack to an abundance of information, digital technologies have also revolutionized communication in online spaces. However, modern online disinformation has surged, challenging trustworthiness and reliability of consumed data and even threatening democracy. Emerging technologies, such as AI, are as well intensifying misinformation and disinformation threats, allowing the wide spread of misleading and contradictory pieces of information. While protecting and respecting freedom of opinion and expression, governments may find it difficult to address online disinformation without cooperation among multistakeholders including parliamentarians.
How can countries strengthen data governance, ensuring data protection and privacy, to support a truly global digital economy? How can policy, regulatory and legislative frameworks facilitate collaboration for the development of artificial intelligence in a trusted way, while continuing to enable innovation? How can governments develop robust accountability for digital platforms and address disinformation through relevant practices? These and similar questions will be discussed at the IGF 2023 Parliamentary Track, offering parliamentarians an opportunity to exchange good practices, discuss challenges and solutions, and engage with other stakeholders in a dialogue aimed to help inform efficient and effective policy making and implementation.
- How to align safety standards across regions, countries and industries to help build a global culture of digital trust and security? How to align international principles and frameworks with national measures?
- How to strengthen cooperation across Governments, industry, experts and civil society to elaborate and implement norms, guidelines and principles relating to the responsible use of digital technologies?
- How to improve regulatory capacity and develop agile governance measures to keep up with the rapid pace of technology?
- How to develop legal and regulatory frameworks while maintaining active policy compatibility with the interoperability of the Internet?
- Mr. LI Junhua, DESA Under Secretary General
- Ms. Jeehan Mahmood, Member of Parliament of the Maldives and Member of the Bureau of IPU’s Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights (remotely)
- Hon. Tomoko Ukishima, Member of Parliament, Japan
- Mr. Vint Cerf, Chair, Leadership Panel
- Hon. Latifa Al-Abdulkarim, Shura Council Member, Saudi Arabia
- Hon. Sumana Shrestha, Member of Parliament, Nepal
- Hon. Brando Benifei, Member of the European Parliament
- H.E. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Economic Affairs, Bahamas (remotely)
- Thomas Schneider, Ambassador and Director of International Affairs at the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM)