Kate Jones

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A participant wear sunglasses with IPv6 writings at the opening of the Internet Governance Forum on 26 November 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images.

Last month, the G7 announced it is to work towards a trusted, values-driven digital ecosystem. While this is commendable, the G7 must recognize that key international digital governance decisions should involve all states whose populations will be affected. Not doing so is to deny the legitimate interests of those populations and may cause a lack of trust in international digital governance that embeds longer-term instability.

While a multi-stakeholder approach to digital governance is important, it must be structured in a way that allows for meaningful representation of states’ interests and ensures their representatives have the opportunity and capacity to take part.…  Seguir leyendo »

Phone screen displays the statement of former US president Donald Trump on his Facebook page background after the Oversight Board upheld the company's restriction against him. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.

From a human rights perspective, the Oversight Board’s decision is a strong one, and not at all surprising. The board decided Facebook was right to suspend the former president’s access to post content on Facebook and Instagram, but not indefinitely.

It found Donald Trump’s posts violated Facebook’s community standards because they amounted to praise or support of people engaged in violence and that, applying a human rights assessment, Facebook’s suspension of Trump was a necessary and proportionate restriction of his right to freedom of expression.

However the board also found Trump’s indefinite suspension was neither in conformity with a clear Facebook procedure nor consistent with its commitment to respect human rights.…  Seguir leyendo »

A digital influence exhibition at the Vivatech startups and innovation fair, in Paris. Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images.

Democracy is at risk, not only from disinformation but from systemic manipulation of public debate online. Evidence shows social media drives control of narratives, polarization, and division on issues of politics and identity. We are now seeing regulators turn their attention to protecting democracy from disinformation and manipulation. But how should they distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate online information practices, between persuasive and manipulative campaigning?

Unregulated, the tactics of disinformation and manipulation have spread far and wide. They are no longer the preserve merely of disaffected individuals, hostile international actors, and authoritarian regimes. Facebook’s periodic reporting on coordinated inauthentic behaviour and Twitter’s on foreign information operations reveal that militaries, governments, and political campaigners in a wide range of countries, including parts of Europe and America, have engaged in manipulative or deceptive information campaigns.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mural depicting the influence of various social media platforms in Bangalore, India. Photo by MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images.

We like to believe that our thoughts and opinions are private, and that it is up to us how we make up our own minds. Our mental autonomy is a fundamental aspect of what makes us individuals. But it is being threatened as technology increasingly monopolizes attention and directs our thoughts and opinions.

As AI (artificial intelligence) becomes more embedded in daily life, these trends are set to continue. While there is much more AI in the home than a few years ago (smartphones, virtual assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant, heating controls and so on), in a few years’ time this period may be seen as one in which there is relatively little reliance on AI in daily life.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man uses a Swedish version of the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker app on his smartphone in Stockholm, Sweden, on 29 April 2020. Photo: Getty Images

Misinformation and Disinformation

The coronavirus pandemic, labelled an infodemic by the World Health Organization, has demonstrated the power of false information, whether created or shared without intention of causing harm (misinformation) or knowingly generated to cause harm (disinformation).

The peddling of false claims online and on television has precipitated arson attacks on 5G mobile phone masts across Europe: over 50 in the UK, at least 16 in the Netherlands, further attacks in Belgium, Cyprus, Italy and Ireland. Mere discussion of a vaccine is stoking the anti-vaccination movement. The scale of disinformation is rife: Facebook alone has placed warning labels on around 50 million pieces of content and as of mid-April, COVID-19 misinformation on Facebook had been viewed an estimated 117 million times.…  Seguir leyendo »