ADC debates rights in digital age at OECD Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting
As members of the Steering Committee of CSISAC (Civil Society Information Advisory Council), ADC took part in the workshop Rights in the digital age: building solid evidence on December 14, during the OECD Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Gran Canaria, Spain.
ADC executive director, Valeria Milanes, made a presentation pointing out the efforts of civil society to stand for rights in the Internet era, the main challenges we face, and possible ways to address them.
“For civil society organizations, such as the one I represent and other CSISAC members, the defense of rights in the online sphere is not something new,” she remarked.
After mentioning how ADC’s activity shifted its focus to the digital environment over the last fifteen years, Milanés stressed the importance of collaboration with the different networks. “These networks help to link small groups to larger ones, as well as grass-roots organizations with others of a more political aim,” she explained.
On the other hand, our executive director referred to some of the challenges lying ahead and mentioned five situations to bear in mind:
– The concentration of technology, wealth, and lobbying pressure in a few corporations and countries.
– Legal restrictions that hinder transparency and openness, such as those arising from intellectual property rights and trade secrets, as well as provisions included in free trade agreements, intelligence-related statutes, or public procurement procedures.
– The speed and complexity in technology development and deployment by private companies and its rapid adoption by States when providing government and public services.
– The threats to diversity, pluralism, and – to a certain extent – democracy posed by the tons of data harvested and processed by business models.
– The reduction of civil society participation spaces and the implementation of pervasive surveillance systems by governments.
Finally, Milanes underlined civil society’s significant participation in tech forums, such as ITU or IETF, and in economic forums, namely OECD, G20, and G7, among others, providing a view which emphasizes inclusion, sustainability, fundamental rights, civil liberties, and diversity.
“Rights must be understood in a legal framework and aligned with the obligations that countries assume in international human rights treaties,” concluded our executive director and member of the CSISAC Steering Committee.