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Digital Governance

OGP countries are leveraging the opportunities of evolving technology, such as artificial intelligence, data-driven algorithms, and mass social networks, while also developing policies to deal with the threats, including disinformation, discrimination, and privacy concerns.

Overview | Recommendations | Partners | Documents | Commitments | Recent Posts

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United for an Open Digital Future

Freedom of expression is an important sign of a thriving democracy, including across constantly emerging digital platforms and social media.


Overview

Digital tools and social media have empowered people through widespread access to information and global connections. Citizens are using technology to hold governments to account and to exercise their civic rights. Governments are using technology to be more transparent, accountable and inclusive. They are also innovating solutions to pressing issues, including delivering services better, establishing cutting edge systems of procurement, and fighting fraud and abuse. 

Yet, the same technologies can represent real risks to democracies. Unaccountable institutions are leveraging technology to pursue their own interests. And public institutions are dealing with the unintended consequences of fast-moving technologies that often outpace government oversight. 

OGP’s 2019 co-chairs have identified digital governance as a priority, and OGP is working to bring together people from inside and outside of government into timely conversations, especially those occurring across borders. OGP also encourages  members to use their action plans to address digital governance issues, and by hosting a coalition of government and civil society to support best practices.

 


Recommendations

Updated November 2019

Monitor standards emerging around data rights, use, storage and privacy at the regional level. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation or the Council of Europe’s Convention 108+, have been updated to include guidelines on data protection, and several OGP members are working to harmonize data privacy laws across all levels of government, including developing data protection legal frameworks that take into account specific conditions for data processing and disclosure of personal data. 

  • Australia committed to creating a whole of government approach to digital governance by increasing data access and use within government, while improving data privacy and security with strengthened safeguards. 
  • Denmark, Chile, Indonesia have made explicit commitments on issues of responsible data stewardship in the public sector.

 

Ensure internet access is inclusive and addresses barriers to affordability and accessibility for underrepresented communities and geographically isolated regions.

  • Latvia is creating open public internet access points to make digital tools more readily available.

Proactively create mechanisms for transparency, oversight, and inclusion into the use of artificial intelligence and algorithms.  Importantly, ensure that the use of these technologies does not violate any human rights principles or international conventions. OGP members are also leading the discussion on the ethics of how these technologies are used through the Digital 9 countries (membership of OGP is one of the core criteria of the D9 charter), G7 discussions.

  • France is using OGP to improve the transparency of public algorithms and source codes and is working within its government to develop a shared methodology for opening algorithms and the codes contained in its information systems.  
  • Canada is developing a government directive “to set rules on how departments can use AI ethically to make decisions.”
    • departments can use AI ethically to make decisions.”

Create policies to limit abusive surveillance and safeguard against censorship and arbitrary shutdowns. With regard to internet censorship governments must ensure that content-based restrictions meet international standards for civic rights.

  • Italy is using OGP to adopt the Charter of Internet Rights, as approved by its legislature in 2015. The Charter links on and offline rights, including protecting basic civil liberties such as the freedom to assemble.

Explore policies to tackle disinformation and misuse of social media platforms. 

  • The UK parliamentary committee’s report on disinformation and ‘fake news’ calls for policy measures such as mandating social media companies take down known sources of harmful content, including proven sources of disinformation.

Resources

  1. Strengthening Democracy and Protecting Civic Rights in the Digital Era

    For government to be responsive, and inclusive, a robust enabling environment that protects fundamental rights and democratic institutions is critical.

    2019, Page, Web Page

  2. Global Report

    The promise of democracy is often defined by the ballot box, where citizens determine who will represent their interests in…

    2019, Page, Web Page

  3. The Right Tools for the Right Job: How OGP can help win the fight for civic space

    This paper is an OGP Support Unit/Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) collaboration authored by Tonusree Basu, OGP Thematic Partnerships Manager, and Denisse…

    2018, Documents, Web Page

  4. The Guide to Opening Government: An Enabling Environment for Civil Society Organizations

    A guide on commitments to improve the enabling environment for civil society organizations, published by the International Center for Not-For-Profit…

    2018, Documents, Web Page

  5. Human Rights in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

    This Access Now study scopes the potential range of human rights issues that may be raised as artificial intelligence and…

    2018, Outbound Link, Web Page

  6. Mapping Regulatory Proposal for Artificial Intelligence in Europe

    A bird's eye survey from Access Now on the major regulatory initiatives in artificial intelligence and the European Union and…

    2018, Outbound Link, Web Page

  7. Algorithmic Accountability Policy Toolkit

    AI Now Institute offers a toolkit for legal and policy advocates that provides a basic understanding of government use of…

    2018, Outbound Link, Web Page

  8. Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence

    Explore the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI that put forward 7 key requirements that AI systems should meet in order…

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  9. It's Time for a Bill of Data Rights

    Luminate's Martin Tisné argues that "data ownership" is flawed and instead, we need a framework that gives people rights to…

    2018, Outbound Link, Web Page

  10. A Contract for the Web

    By committing to this contract outlined by The Web Foundation, governments, companies and citizens around the world can help protect…

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  11. "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility": Keeping Public Sector Algorithms Accountable

    In this paper, Etalab, the French government’s task force for open data and data policy, explains how they're working with…

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page


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