Internet and his future have been protagonists in recent weeks. Two pieces of information stand out. On the one hand, the European Union, the United States together with 32 other countries have signed a declaration to define the vision and principles for keep the network secure. On the other hand, former US President Barack Obama gave a lecture at Stanford University explaining the threats facing democracies in the digital age. Both offer us two interesting perspectives that need to be analyzed and commented on. Perhaps with this analysis we can glimpse what the coming years will bring us.
a political statement
The European Union and the United States have agreed on the terms on which the Internet should be maintained for the foreseeable future. Thirty countries have joined its purpose, including Australia, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom. It is a common position for cope with the different challenges we face in the digital age.
The first objective is to reinforce the principle of open and neutral network to counteract the effects of a fragmented Internet (known as the Splinternet). In this way, reference is made to the situation in which we live in those states, as in the cases of Russia and China, where access to the network is under the strict guidelines of the governments. As the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, indicated, this declaration must be the instrument to ensure that “the values that we maintain offline are also protected online, to make the Internet a safe site, a place and a space of trust for all , and to ensure that the internet is at the service of our individual freedom. Because the future of the internet is also the future of democracy, of humanity & rdquor ;. A declaration of intentions.
Precisely, this document should be taken as a point of reference by those responsible for public policies, as well as by citizens, companies and civil society organizations of the signatory countries. But its nature is only political, hence its weakness. Volunteerism is not enough to be able to promote connectivity, democracy, peace, the rule of law and sustainable development in the digital world. It should be concretized in actions and programs. We will really see your commitment when you turn from words to actions. We will have to trust.
Along the same line of concern for our democracies is the conference that Barack Obama taught at Stanford, at the end of April. His speech raised the challenges facing democratic societies in the digital age. He explained how technology is transforming the way we live, as well as how it impacts political and economic rules.
Obama warned about the dangers of the disinformation phenomenon, as well as detailed the ways to guarantee the survival of democracies in the digital world. He claimed that the regulation it has to be part of the response to the fight against false information and news on digital networks. Also, he said that actions have to be global and joint; in line with the declaration presented a few days earlier between the US and the European Union.
The former president also made it clear that he did not believe technology was to blame for many of our social ills. Racism, sexism and misogyny predate the Internet, but technology has helped amplify them. “Solving the misinformation problem will not cure everything that ails our democracies or tears at the fabric of our world, but it can help bridge divisions and allow us to rebuild the trust and solidarity needed to strengthen our democracy,” Obama said.
We know the diagnosis, the instruments are also clear. Now what is missing is the courage of leaders and citizens to take action to protect democratic values and principles in the network of networks, as well as in the future that the metaverse will bring.
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