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Proposal: A Global Approval Committee of New Tech

Blog. Third party audits and a global committee to approve of (new use of) new technologies to make sure  global human right and ethical principles are respected. Those are two of the concrete suggestions coming out of a global governance summit at Copenhagen Tech Festival.

Under the #Techplomacy, the Danish Foreign Ministry represented by the Danish Tech Ambassador, Casper Klynge, and the Ministry of Education on 6 September 2018 hosted a summit with focus on Global Governance in the Digital Age. The focus for the summit was the so-called 4th industrial revolution and the impact it will have on society. A reflection on the enormous potential in AI, IoT and use of Big Data to develop new business models, services and solution to benefit both individuals and society, and the spurring disruption of long-established institutions and communication the same technologies also represents. Similar to the annual IGF-meetings.  

Tech Ambassador Casper Klynge at Techfestival 2018

As with all complex things, eating the elephant in small pieces is a way forward, why the summit revolved around four themes:

  1. Innovation and inclusive digital growth;
  2. Ethically and human rights-based use of data and technology;
  3. Security in a digitized society, and last but not least
  4. Agile global governance.

The discussions at the tables in World Café style was infused by four key note speakers from OECD, UN OHCHR, World Economic Forum and German Marshall Fund of United States, and facilitated by dedicated table chairs. was table chair in the discussions on theme 2.

Generic subjects from the tables was first of all an urgent need for education, empowerment and agencies among individuals, regulators and legislators. Additionally, the call for global regulation was key through all four themes.

The conclusions from the tables had to focus on potential policies and several good proposals came up. One of them being drafting of standards that should be subject to third party audit, another the requirement for accountability and transparency. Of the more hands on proposals, was the introduction of a global committee/organisation that should have two tasks. One being acting as an approval committee where new technologies or new use of current technologies must be submitted and assessed based on global human right and ethical principles and process. As we know it from introduction of new medicine. The other tasks should be to act as investigators when a data breach occur or misuse, or where use of technologies has an unforeseen threat. Similar to the airline-industry where regional aviation safety agencies investigate airline crashes and irregularities, and from their investigations we as society can learn and adapt to avoid similar situations in the future. It is fair to say that the delegates in general considered the impact of digital technologies in line with high risk sectors such as health (and aviation). 

The input from the keynote speaker from German Marshall Fund of United States was also echoed as to bring awareness on cybersecurity in line with experiences within increase of personal security in high risk urban areas. All on all the summit brought light to some of the experiences and competences that we already have and can learn from retrospective, and all very good initiatives are already taking off. What this may require is a coordinated approach, mapping of all the initiatives globally and from that draw the guidelines to applicable policies to support agile governance.

The executive director for UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, Amandeep Gill, was the receiver of the (handwritten) output from the tables and the concluding debate to be part of the international dialogue on technology, as a bottom-up input to the international community engaged in governance of the technological development.

The thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be hosted by the Government of France at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris from 12 to 14 November 2018.