UN Secretary General's panel on digital cooperation highlights need to examine how human rights frameworks should guide digital technology

Author: UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, Published on: 10 June 2019

"The Age of Digital Interdependence" 10 June 2019

Digital technologies are rapidly transforming society, simultaneously allowing for unprecedented advances in the human condition and giving rise to profound new challenges...Sensing the urgency of the moment, in July 2018 the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) appointed this Panel to consider the question of “digital cooperation” – the ways we work together to address the social, ethical, legal and economic impact of digital technologies in order to maximise their benefits and minimise their harm... Effective digital cooperation requires that multilateralism... be strengthened... [and] be complemented by multi-stakeholderism... [D]igital technologies will only help progress towards the full sweep of the SDGs if we think more broadly than the important issue of access to the internet and digital technologies... [U]niversal human rights apply equally online as offline, but that there is an urgent need to examine how time-honoured human rights frameworks and conventions should guide digital cooperation and digital technology...We recommend that by 2030, every adult should have affordable access to digital networks...a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods, engaging talent and pooling data sets, in a manner that respects privacy...[and] a set of metrics for digital inclusiveness should be urgently agreed, measured worldwide and detailed with sex disaggregated data in the annual reports of institutions such as the UN.

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