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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.

Explore our list of Actions for Transparent and Accountable Digital Governance »

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


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. 

As part of the 2021 OGP Co-Chair Call-to-Action, this menu of suggested actions highlights ideas for OGP members to advance through their upcoming OGP action plans. The menu features recommendations across areas including inclusive digital transformation and innovation, digital rights and safeguard against misuse of digital technologies.


Recommendations

Updated July 2021

  • Make digital citizen engagement inclusive by ensuring that internet access is inclusive and addresses barriers to affordability and accessibility for underrepresented communities and geographically isolated regions. Additionally, understand gender-specific challenges of online engagement by analyzing disaggregated registration data by age, gender, and relevant demographic data, taking into account privacy of individuals, and assessing existing data on online harassment via consultation and research.  
    • Latvia is creating open public internet access points to make digital tools more accessible.
    • Argentina created a website that provides legal resources in the context of the pandemic to vulnerable groups, including information on reproductive legal rights.
  • Digital transformation for open government: Use of digital tools for monitoring of public services should be augmented with adequate feedback and redress mechanisms.
    • In Kaduna, Nigeria, the government discloses the geo-location of publicly-funded projects and citizens upload photos and feedback on these projects which go directly to the Governor’s office and State Legislature for corrective action. 
    • In Paraguay and Colombia, the government publishes emergency contracts as open data that civil society monitors, including by tracking price differences for COVID-19 supplies; in Ukraine, the DoZorro platform encourages civil society to monitor the procurement of all the products and services, including those which are COVID-related.
  • Open data: Government information should be published in open data formats for increased access, use, and interoperability across various datasets.
    • Lithuania launched an open data portal and a new financial portal that includes 12 large-scale financial datasets, for each of its 60 municipalities. 
    • Paraguay published open data on the quality of health services to grant citizens the information needed to participate in shaping health resource allocation and policy.
  • Implement appropriate data management policies that are aligned with global norms to protect data rights, use, storage, and privacy.
    • The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the Council of Europe’s Convention 108+ have updated 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 increasing data access and use within government, while improving data privacy and security with strengthened safeguards.
  • Create policies that increase transparency, openness, and oversight on the use of automated decision-making systems in the public sector
    • France committed to publishing public algorithms to improve the transparency of source codes and is working within its government to develop a shared methodology for more open information systems.
    • Canada developed a government directive “to set rules on how departments can use AI ethically to make decisions.”
    • New Zealand created an algorithms charter on operational algorithms that will result in, or inform, decisions directly impacting individuals or groups. This will allow citizens to understand how their personal data is used by the government. 
  • Develop regulations and guidelines for transparency and accountability for use of online political advertising, and establish avenues for oversight agencies such as courts and regulatory agencies to identify what constitutes acceptable political advertisements.
  • Introduce policies to tackle disinformation and misuse of social media platforms and implement government programs that build capacities of citizens to increase media literacy.
    • The European Digital Media Observatory was established as a hub for relevant stakeholders to conduct fact-checking activities and coordinate research on disinformation at the European level. It will also build a public portal to increase awareness of online disinformation.
    • Finland developed a media literacy module that helps school-age individuals distinguish fake news.. 
  • 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.
    • Mexico established a group of experts from a variety of sectors and government agencies to analyze and modify regulations on the use of surveillance in private communications. All changes will be made in accordance with existing national and international human rights standards.
  • Establish platform procedures to prevent and address online harassment. Platforms should work with governments, independent experts and civil society to identify and flag harmful content; ensure regular disclosure of remediation actions taken, including on data privacy; enhance law enforcement agencies’ awareness of the issue; and ensure laws appropriately deal with online gender-based violence and antisocial behavior, including online harassment, abuse, impersonation, catfishing, doxxing, revenge porn, and violence.
    • Online harassment, including abusive language and cyberbullying, can further amplify exclusion when individuals also “experience attacks based on their identity such as gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity” according to the Web Foundation.
    • Build on existing gender-based violence and open data commitments like Uruguay’s interventions to create safer spaces for participation online, including codes of conduct, disaggregated user data, active moderation and reporting mechanisms, and introducing or amending laws that govern gender-based violence to include online harassment, abuse, or violence.

Find more recommendations of actions for transparent and accountable digital governance here.


Partnerships and Coalitions


Resources

  1. Automated Decision-Making Systems in the Public Sector – An Impact Assessment Tool for Public Authorities

    AlgorithmWatch and AlgorithmWatch Switzerland asked "How can we ensure a trustworthy use of automated decision-making systems (ADMS) in the public…

    2021, Outbound Link, Web Page

  2. Actions for Transparent and Accountable Digital Governance

    Innovation and the use of digital technologies have always been an integral part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in…

    2021, , Web Page

  3. Digital Governance – What Role Could OGP Play?

    Seeking innovation and employing new technologies for opening up government has been central to OGP's mission and a key area…

    2020, Research Product, Web Page

  4. 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, , Web Page

  5. Global Report

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

    2019, , Web Page

  6. 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, Research Product, Web Page

  7. 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, Resource, Web Page

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. "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

  15. Artificial Intelligence: open questions about gender inclusion

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is shaping gender relations, creating new challenges and opportunities for women. For their personal development and professional…

    2018, Outbound Link, Web Page

  16. New recommendations to improve gender equality in digital professions and eliminate stereotypes in AI applications

    UNESCO publication locates this prejudice in the gender imbalance of technical teams leading the development of frontier technologies and identifies…

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  17. Open Response + Open Recovery: Open Government and Digital Governance in the Time of COVID-19

    Experts from the World Wide Web Foundation, the Governments of France and Taiwan, Luminate, and Article 19 led a cross-sector…

    2020, , Web Page


Commitments


Recent Content

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Making Algorithms Accountable to Citizens

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This year, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) turns 10 years old and the Republic of Korea will host the 2021 OGP Global Summit to mark the occasion from December 13-17, 2021.

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Mexico Must Establish Democratic Controls over State Surveillance

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) calls on the Mexican government and national stakeholders to fully implement surveillance control regulations ...

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