Digital Democracy - The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in political and governance processes.

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E-Government - The use of ICT to enhance public administration or public services.

Answer
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Original Answer
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Any technical and digital advancements have to serve humanity and subject to fundamental and human rights, rule of law and democratic principles. Governments and private actors need to be hold accountable.Public institutions and agencies have to urgently increase their digital literacy and better understand the role and impact of technology, software and algorithms, and of proper regulation. E-Government has to serve the people. This also includes the improving online accessibility of official documents and information, as well as strict regulation on the use of citizen’s and non-citizen’s data. Even in a tech- and algorithm-based world, responsibilities of decisions must always lie with and be controlled by humans. In order to ensure sovereignty of decisions and self-determination of individuals we need to have transparency on commercially and state-run technology, and especially on algorithms. We need public discussion on what happens once algorithms excel human comprehension both in ethical and legal terms as well as in terms of responsibilities of governments and private entities. Any data that is not objectively needed must not be collected by the state or companies. Any incidental data has to be deleted immediately if no reason for storage can be named. The dissemination of illegally or wrongly obtained data as well as data abuse has to lead to appropriate penalties. Data protection laws have to include the fact that legal access to data does not allow for junction of data. A violation of e.g. the EU GDPR by security agencies has to be transparently and publicly accounted for. Anonymous mobile communication has to be protected legally and technically. The right to be forgotten has to be implemented. This has to apply to all people independent of their citizenship. Surveillance by the government has to be punished by law. The global trade with surveillance technology has to happen in compliance with the rule of law and be properly controlled by an independent international agency. Whistleblowers have to be protected. No one brave enough to publicly show hidden grievances should be discriminated. The principles of privacy by design and privacy by default have to be applied. Governments should introduce data protection regulation and continue to improve and implement existing legislation such as the GDPR. E-privacy legislation needs to be adopted as soon as possible, including a regulation on the use of search engine data and communication software. Tracking has to be limited. Data processors have to ensure all regulations of data protection are applied during the whole process of data handling. A violation of data protection law or against fundamental rights has to be prosecuted. This includes rigorous and consequent follow-up on nuisances and scandals even if commercial interest might be impaired.
To ensure the principle of equality when accessing public services, public authorities should support those facing digital exclusion so they can access digitalised services.
1. Accessibility and inclusiveness are critical to ensuring digital public services and decision-making tools are accessible and inclusive of all people, including those without internet or low digital literacy as well as persons with disabilities. 2. Human decision-making and oversight are essential to an AI-powered future, including through audits and risk assessments across the various uses of AI, particularly when it comes to applications of AI in public service delivery.
• If E-Government is to be successful, access to the internet and to digital resources must become a public good. Citizens must have the resources to engage in this process but also to have the opportunity to experience ICT tools freely, understanding how to use them when it comes to crucial processes linked to e-governance. • Alternatives to these services must always be provided to ensure that those that do not have the possibility to use digital tools can still be adequately engaged in their society.
Take a zero-tolerance approach towards entities that prevent equal access to the Internet and digital opportunities, especially regarding censorship due to political interference.
• guideline to use open source solutions whenever possible • digital dividend (share of the saved money from innovation/digitalization efforts fed back to the offices that implemented these improvements) • Having a (interaction) design core group that takes care of the design of services across institutions (also taking care of accessibility, intuitivity and ease of use); reduce approval processes; give hired personnel more freedom • (flexible) project based hiring of personnel, and when successful offer the potential of continuation on further projects or even a fixed position
Technology and digitalization ought not to be seen as an endgoal in itself, but rather a means to serve the best interest of the people. In other words: ‘techno-solutionism’ should be avoided by making it a requirement in the decision-making process whether or not to digitalize a certain part of public administration and/or public service to centralize the need of the people. This ought to happen in consultation with civil society organizations, especially those that are extra vulnerable and marginalize din elation to the said service.
EU institutions and member states governments (at national, regional and local level) should make a strong commitment to provide a trustworthy e-government service for its users. Trustworthy e-government service must be accessible to all, user centred, transparent, cost efficient, safe, open standards based and reliable to deliver expected results for its users. Both the EU and the member states should adopt legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector is made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence (https://publiccode.eu/).
Participation of citizens depends on thrustworthy systems - security and data protection must be a prerequisite and has to be controlled continuously. Energy must come from renewable sources, and accessibility for disabled must be guaranteed.
Answer
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Original Answer
Sample suggestion
Any technical and digital advancements have to serve humanity and subject to fundamental and human rights, rule of law and democratic principles. Governments and private actors need to be hold accountable.Public institutions and agencies have to urgently increase their digital literacy and better understand the role and impact of technology, software and algorithms, and of proper regulation. E-Government has to serve the people. This also includes the improving online accessibility of official documents and information, as well as strict regulation on the use of citizen’s and non-citizen’s data. Even in a tech- and algorithm-based world, responsibilities of decisions must always lie with and be controlled by humans. In order to ensure sovereignty of decisions and self-determination of individuals we need to have transparency on commercially and state-run technology, and especially on algorithms. We need public discussion on what happens once algorithms excel human comprehension both in ethical and legal terms as well as in terms of responsibilities of governments and private entities. Any data that is not objectively needed must not be collected by the state or companies. Any incidental data has to be deleted immediately if no reason for storage can be named. The dissemination of illegally or wrongly obtained data as well as data abuse has to lead to appropriate penalties. Data protection laws have to include the fact that legal access to data does not allow for junction of data. A violation of e.g. the EU GDPR by security agencies has to be transparently and publicly accounted for. Anonymous mobile communication has to be protected legally and technically. The right to be forgotten has to be implemented. This has to apply to all people independent of their citizenship. Surveillance by the government has to be punished by law. The global trade with surveillance technology has to happen in compliance with the rule of law and be properly controlled by an independent international agency. Whistleblowers have to be protected. No one brave enough to publicly show hidden grievances should be discriminated. The principles of privacy by design and privacy by default have to be applied. Governments should introduce data protection regulation and continue to improve and implement existing legislation such as the GDPR. E-privacy legislation needs to be adopted as soon as possible, including a regulation on the use of search engine data and communication software. Tracking has to be limited. Data processors have to ensure all regulations of data protection are applied during the whole process of data handling. A violation of data protection law or against fundamental rights has to be prosecuted. This includes rigorous and consequent follow-up on nuisances and scandals even if commercial interest might be impaired.
To ensure the principle of equality when accessing public services, public authorities should support those facing digital exclusion so they can access digitalised services.
1. Accessibility and inclusiveness are critical to ensuring digital public services and decision-making tools are accessible and inclusive of all people, including those without internet or low digital literacy as well as persons with disabilities. 2. Human decision-making and oversight are essential to an AI-powered future, including through audits and risk assessments across the various uses of AI, particularly when it comes to applications of AI in public service delivery.
• If E-Government is to be successful, access to the internet and to digital resources must become a public good. Citizens must have the resources to engage in this process but also to have the opportunity to experience ICT tools freely, understanding how to use them when it comes to crucial processes linked to e-governance. • Alternatives to these services must always be provided to ensure that those that do not have the possibility to use digital tools can still be adequately engaged in their society.
Take a zero-tolerance approach towards entities that prevent equal access to the Internet and digital opportunities, especially regarding censorship due to political interference.
• guideline to use open source solutions whenever possible • digital dividend (share of the saved money from innovation/digitalization efforts fed back to the offices that implemented these improvements) • Having a (interaction) design core group that takes care of the design of services across institutions (also taking care of accessibility, intuitivity and ease of use); reduce approval processes; give hired personnel more freedom • (flexible) project based hiring of personnel, and when successful offer the potential of continuation on further projects or even a fixed position
Technology and digitalization ought not to be seen as an endgoal in itself, but rather a means to serve the best interest of the people. In other words: ‘techno-solutionism’ should be avoided by making it a requirement in the decision-making process whether or not to digitalize a certain part of public administration and/or public service to centralize the need of the people. This ought to happen in consultation with civil society organizations, especially those that are extra vulnerable and marginalize din elation to the said service.
EU institutions and member states governments (at national, regional and local level) should make a strong commitment to provide a trustworthy e-government service for its users. Trustworthy e-government service must be accessible to all, user centred, transparent, cost efficient, safe, open standards based and reliable to deliver expected results for its users. Both the EU and the member states should adopt legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector is made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence (https://publiccode.eu/).
Participation of citizens depends on thrustworthy systems - security and data protection must be a prerequisite and has to be controlled continuously. Energy must come from renewable sources, and accessibility for disabled must be guaranteed.

E-Transparency - The use of ICT to enhance transparency of governments by allowing citizens to access information online.

Answer
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Original Answer
Digital technologies can be tools for mass surveillance, with the power to silence free speech and freedom of information. They are also the basis for an ever growing business model. Thus, the control of data has to lie with people providing the data. Governments and international or regional institutions, such as the EU, have a responsibility to protect the rights, privacy, self-determination and autonomy of its citizens and ensure a free basic democratic order. Governments and corporations must follow the principle of data minimization. Governments have to prosecute offences against data privacy violations by commercial enterprises and government intuitions. Data-driven business models need to be regulated properly.
Open governance principles of accountability and transparency need to underpin the digital transformation of public decision-making and service delivery, to allow for scrutiny from both the legislative and judiciary branches of government, as well as civil society and media actors.
open list of digitalization to-dos per institution/office, with externally checked progress. This could incentive progression of digitalization by public exposure (i.e. “this agency is already 80% digital, whereas this other office hasn't even started and is at 5%”). In addition to the digitalization of existing services, institutions could gain additional points for real innovation. Discourage insulated solutions and patchwork solutions by encouraging joint digitalization of sets of related services. Prioritizing of funding to offices depending on their level of digitalization?
This would have to go hand in hand with making sure that ICT is equally available to all people; in other words, information made available online should also be accessible offline, in case someone can't access the online resources. To avoid this to be used as a mere check-box exercise, the information should be made available in easily accessible language and easy to find on the relevant webpages.
EU institutions and member states e-government public data and documents at national, regional and local level should be accessible and usable in open formats. EU member states should take stronger role in promoting and supporting re-use of government data by other sectors, especially civil society.
Declaration of sources of information is crucial! For the interpretation of the presented data, help in simple language must be provided in order not to disadvantage people of other mother tongues or those with sensory disabilities.
Answer
(Google logo indicates automatic translation by Google Translate)
Original Answer
Digital technologies can be tools for mass surveillance, with the power to silence free speech and freedom of information. They are also the basis for an ever growing business model. Thus, the control of data has to lie with people providing the data. Governments and international or regional institutions, such as the EU, have a responsibility to protect the rights, privacy, self-determination and autonomy of its citizens and ensure a free basic democratic order. Governments and corporations must follow the principle of data minimization. Governments have to prosecute offences against data privacy violations by commercial enterprises and government intuitions. Data-driven business models need to be regulated properly.
Open governance principles of accountability and transparency need to underpin the digital transformation of public decision-making and service delivery, to allow for scrutiny from both the legislative and judiciary branches of government, as well as civil society and media actors.
open list of digitalization to-dos per institution/office, with externally checked progress. This could incentive progression of digitalization by public exposure (i.e. “this agency is already 80% digital, whereas this other office hasn't even started and is at 5%”). In addition to the digitalization of existing services, institutions could gain additional points for real innovation. Discourage insulated solutions and patchwork solutions by encouraging joint digitalization of sets of related services. Prioritizing of funding to offices depending on their level of digitalization?
This would have to go hand in hand with making sure that ICT is equally available to all people; in other words, information made available online should also be accessible offline, in case someone can't access the online resources. To avoid this to be used as a mere check-box exercise, the information should be made available in easily accessible language and easy to find on the relevant webpages.
EU institutions and member states e-government public data and documents at national, regional and local level should be accessible and usable in open formats. EU member states should take stronger role in promoting and supporting re-use of government data by other sectors, especially civil society.
Declaration of sources of information is crucial! For the interpretation of the presented data, help in simple language must be provided in order not to disadvantage people of other mother tongues or those with sensory disabilities.

E-Participation - The use of ICT to allow citizens to participate in decision-making processes, to improve policy outputs and even co-create policies together with their representatives.

Answer
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Original Answer
Access to the internet should be a fundamental human right as it is often the basis for cultural and political participation. We need policies for free, equal and affordable access to the internet for all to be developed with users and concerned parties. Governments have to commit to a just distribution of digital resources. At the same time, digital skills or access to the internet cannot be a condition or requirement for full participation in society, politics or economies. When it comes to developing state-led digital strategies, all stakeholders need to be involved. These strategies need to be relevant for the wider public and not just selected groups. Collaboration between governments and IT-companies for public digital development have to be transparent and monitored by relevant actors, in order to prevent further commercialization of data, expansion of monopolies and limitations of democratic principles such as freedom of information. Governments should support decentralized, citizen-based projects. Any introduction of new technologies in a company has to follow proper staff participation processes. This includes clearly stating their usage, goals, details of software etc. and appropriate staff training. Technology transfer, fair trade policies, development of local and regional markets and exchange of knowledge and funds are the basis for a sustainable economy for all people. E-Commerce can be a tool for development if it enables fair and equal access to economic development and participation. The development of local and regional alternatives of IT-products independent of the world market has to be made possible for developing countries. Similarly to other products, e-commerce has to ensure that developing countries can participate in the world market if the people living in those countries want to. It should not undermine other offline markets relevant for people’s survival and well-being. There needs to be a space for offline economic activities as well.
E-participation as a tool to increase social and political participation of socially excluded groups (e.g. migrants, the Roma, the homeless), and take into account their perspectives in policy-making.
1. Digitalisation must be used to make decision-making more inclusive and participatory, combining various spaces and testing new methods of engagement. This could include combinations of crowdsourcing knowledge, online voting on specific policies and online participatory budgeting, for instance. 2. Citizens should be involved in the regulation and implementation of regulation of digital policies, such as defining red lines for AI applications, in a participatory and inclusive manner (like citizen juries), to ensure that today’s inequalities aren’t replicated and deepened by AI.
• To ensure E-Participation, access to the internet and to digital resources must become a public good. Citizens must have the resources to engage in this process but also to have the opportunity to experience ICT tools freely, understanding how to use them when it comes to crucial processes linked to e-governance. • Alternatives to these services must always be provided to ensure that those that do not have the possibility to use digital tools can still be adequately engaged in their society.
Having online, accessible, and inclusive open consultations to make sure to include the citizens in the decision-making process.
This would have to go hand in hand with making sure that ICT is equally available to all people and extra options should be in place to ensure participation of those that have no access to internet and/or relevant ICT to participate; To avoid this to be used as a mere check-box exercise, the information should be made easily accessible, both in terms of used language and its finding place. For E-participation to be meaningful, it should be clearly communicated, how and when interested people can respond, to what extent input is taken into policy and legislation output and why (or why not). People should also be able to give feedback on outputs during their implementation phase. The identity, safety and security of persons participating online, especially marginalized groups such as women and gender non-binary persons, should be ensured so that the participants are not later exposed to risks of doxxing, trolling or online abuse, among other risks.
Civil society and governments in the EU member states must work together to motivate citizens to engage into e-participation platforms. The e-participation enabling legal base (laws and regulation) and institutional settings for e-participation (civil society and public administration readiness) must be strengthened. Citizens e-participation must be linked to a formal decision-making processes. Direct feedback to participants presenting the outcomes (impacts) of e-participation must be set as a standard.
E-participation must always be accompagnied by other ways of partizipation - mind the digital gap!
Answer
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Original Answer
Access to the internet should be a fundamental human right as it is often the basis for cultural and political participation. We need policies for free, equal and affordable access to the internet for all to be developed with users and concerned parties. Governments have to commit to a just distribution of digital resources. At the same time, digital skills or access to the internet cannot be a condition or requirement for full participation in society, politics or economies. When it comes to developing state-led digital strategies, all stakeholders need to be involved. These strategies need to be relevant for the wider public and not just selected groups. Collaboration between governments and IT-companies for public digital development have to be transparent and monitored by relevant actors, in order to prevent further commercialization of data, expansion of monopolies and limitations of democratic principles such as freedom of information. Governments should support decentralized, citizen-based projects. Any introduction of new technologies in a company has to follow proper staff participation processes. This includes clearly stating their usage, goals, details of software etc. and appropriate staff training. Technology transfer, fair trade policies, development of local and regional markets and exchange of knowledge and funds are the basis for a sustainable economy for all people. E-Commerce can be a tool for development if it enables fair and equal access to economic development and participation. The development of local and regional alternatives of IT-products independent of the world market has to be made possible for developing countries. Similarly to other products, e-commerce has to ensure that developing countries can participate in the world market if the people living in those countries want to. It should not undermine other offline markets relevant for people’s survival and well-being. There needs to be a space for offline economic activities as well.
E-participation as a tool to increase social and political participation of socially excluded groups (e.g. migrants, the Roma, the homeless), and take into account their perspectives in policy-making.
1. Digitalisation must be used to make decision-making more inclusive and participatory, combining various spaces and testing new methods of engagement. This could include combinations of crowdsourcing knowledge, online voting on specific policies and online participatory budgeting, for instance. 2. Citizens should be involved in the regulation and implementation of regulation of digital policies, such as defining red lines for AI applications, in a participatory and inclusive manner (like citizen juries), to ensure that today’s inequalities aren’t replicated and deepened by AI.
• To ensure E-Participation, access to the internet and to digital resources must become a public good. Citizens must have the resources to engage in this process but also to have the opportunity to experience ICT tools freely, understanding how to use them when it comes to crucial processes linked to e-governance. • Alternatives to these services must always be provided to ensure that those that do not have the possibility to use digital tools can still be adequately engaged in their society.
Having online, accessible, and inclusive open consultations to make sure to include the citizens in the decision-making process.
This would have to go hand in hand with making sure that ICT is equally available to all people and extra options should be in place to ensure participation of those that have no access to internet and/or relevant ICT to participate; To avoid this to be used as a mere check-box exercise, the information should be made easily accessible, both in terms of used language and its finding place. For E-participation to be meaningful, it should be clearly communicated, how and when interested people can respond, to what extent input is taken into policy and legislation output and why (or why not). People should also be able to give feedback on outputs during their implementation phase. The identity, safety and security of persons participating online, especially marginalized groups such as women and gender non-binary persons, should be ensured so that the participants are not later exposed to risks of doxxing, trolling or online abuse, among other risks.
Civil society and governments in the EU member states must work together to motivate citizens to engage into e-participation platforms. The e-participation enabling legal base (laws and regulation) and institutional settings for e-participation (civil society and public administration readiness) must be strengthened. Citizens e-participation must be linked to a formal decision-making processes. Direct feedback to participants presenting the outcomes (impacts) of e-participation must be set as a standard.
E-participation must always be accompagnied by other ways of partizipation - mind the digital gap!

E-Voting/E-Elections - To allow voters to record secret ballot and have it tabulated electronically in an election system.

Answer
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Original Answer
E-Voting as a way to overcome existing barriers to electoral participation, such as residence status or lacking an address.
EU member states governments should take a more proactive role in exploring opportunities as well addressing legal, technical and societal challenges e-voting/e-elections by promoting pilots and testbeds for internet voting at the local and regional levels. Also, the European Parliament should commit to pilot a small scale internet voting experiment in a different EU members states as a part of forthcoming European elections.
e-voting is a particularly sensitive issue, people's trust must be created through particularly trustworthy algorithms. Acceptance of e-voting systems can only be expected if they are experienced as secure.
Answer
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Original Answer
E-Voting as a way to overcome existing barriers to electoral participation, such as residence status or lacking an address.
EU member states governments should take a more proactive role in exploring opportunities as well addressing legal, technical and societal challenges e-voting/e-elections by promoting pilots and testbeds for internet voting at the local and regional levels. Also, the European Parliament should commit to pilot a small scale internet voting experiment in a different EU members states as a part of forthcoming European elections.
e-voting is a particularly sensitive issue, people's trust must be created through particularly trustworthy algorithms. Acceptance of e-voting systems can only be expected if they are experienced as secure.

Other

Answer
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Original Answer
What is missing is sustainability in digitalization. Some key aspects: A healthy environment and planet, the protection of human rights and a good life for all are more important than digitalization. Digitalization is nothing new per se, let alone a break in our social, economic and political lives, but follows trends that have been ongoing for decades. To be sustainable, digitalization must serve the common good within the planetary boundaries. It has to be decoupled from the exploitation of people and planet. This can only be achieved if digitalization does not promote further deregulation and privatization, or the growth of a few all-powerful state and corporate monopolies. In order to be truly relevant for all, digitalization has to be anchored in global democratic discourses. The non-digital world must continue to exist freely. Not everything that can should be connected. Environment: Not everyone and every place has to be part of the digital development. First and foremost, we need an immediate fossil fuel phase-out. Digital policies, new digital research fields and economic interests should not obscure this political necessity. Similarly, nuclear energy is not a clean energy source and no alternative to fossil-based energy production. A sustainable digitalization can only be based on efficient, clean, fair, accessible, decentralized renewable energies. National, regional and global strategies and effective legislation to decrease the energy use of IT and communication technology are urgently needed. This includes ecodesign policies and comprehensive energy efficiency labeling. Future regulation should prohibit glued-in batteries or accumulators in electronic devises in order to ensure users to freely and autonomously replace them.Big IT-companies carry a social, ecological and economical responsibility to fight climate change. IT-companies have to move to 100% renewable energy in the next years, improve their energy efficiency and transparently disclose the source of their energy supply. undamental human rights cannot be limited by terms and conditions of business. IT and digital corporations have a responsibility to uphold human rights. This has to be an integral part of business practices as well as national, EU and international regulation. Similar to the corporate accountability index, IT-companies should have to ensure that their technologies, algorithms and software do not violate human rights. The supervision of these processes needs to be independent, transparent and publicly accessible. Governments need to start meeting their obligations to protect human rights and the environment against harmful activities of corporations. Thus, the introduction and regulation of corporations’ liabilities nationally and internationally is needed, including through the UN process towards a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights as well as the implementation of transparency initiatives along the value chain such as the Kimberly Process, conflict mineral laws or the UK Modern Slavery Act.Warranties need to become much more consumer-friendly. Transparency of a product’s durability has to increase through a mandatory identification of its life span by the producer. This includes a labeling system that transparently and comprehensibly informs customers of maximum service life (e.g. of expandable parts), of durability, reparability and modularity of a product. Any case of planned obsolescence should be considered a criminal offense on the bases of “willful deception”, and be regulated accordingly through consumer protection laws.The fundamental right to property should include the right to repair. All producers and retailers should make expandable parts accessible to all market actors during the service life of a product. The price of expandable parts needs to be reasonable and justifiable in relation to production costs. A legal claim for accessible expandable parts has to be ensured. Any data or documentation relevant for repairs as well as specific tools should be supplied to repair facilities at low to no costs. Information concerning repair-friendliness of a product has to be easy to spot for customers.Also on Economic Sustainability: In order to prevent an increase of unemployment due to changes in a digital world’s work place, we suggest a reduction of working hours down to 35-30 hours a week with a minimum of 30 vacation days. Freelancers and contract workers need to get the same social protection as the regular work force. Proper regulation of temporary work and contracted services need to be introduced and implemented. There should be no exceptions from minimum wage. This is especially important for platform economies.A free and fair internet needs space and competition for alternative, non-commercial, non-monopolistic products. Therefore, antitrust and competition laws have to be rigorously applied – including in the case of digital companies. IT and digital companies have to pay taxes where they generate revenue. Effective measures against tax evasion and fraud have to be applied nationally and internationally, including the strengthening of tax bodies and international tax cooperation within the EU and in an open and democratic UN institution. The goal of a common European digital strategy should not primarily be the creation of a common digital or e-commerce market or a European Silicon Valley with its own IT-companies. Regulations should rather focus on the protection of European citizens and consumers as well as the actual adherence of laws, including competition and antitrust laws. A European IT market can only develop with fair market conditions benefitting people and economies. The use of the internet as a common good has to be supported, including open source software and publicly available data. Digital services should be settled outside of trade agreements. If they are already included in trade agreements, transboundary flow of data, data localization, protection of personal data and privacy, transfer of and access to open source code, accountability, regulatory cooperation, net neutrality among other things have to be regulated.
Accessibility should be mainstreamed in all above subtopics for digital democracy. It is vital that digital tools, processes, meeting platforms are accessible for all citizens, including for persons with disabilities (i.e. accessible and interoperable public administration and services; accessible, easy to understand and easy to find information for transparent governance, including information in sign languages and easy to read format; accessible meeting platforms, consultation tools and documents to support e-participation; accessible e-voting and ensuring right to vote for all EU citizens). In the meantime, citizens should always have other – non-digital – options for democratic participation.
Answer
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Original Answer
What is missing is sustainability in digitalization. Some key aspects: A healthy environment and planet, the protection of human rights and a good life for all are more important than digitalization. Digitalization is nothing new per se, let alone a break in our social, economic and political lives, but follows trends that have been ongoing for decades. To be sustainable, digitalization must serve the common good within the planetary boundaries. It has to be decoupled from the exploitation of people and planet. This can only be achieved if digitalization does not promote further deregulation and privatization, or the growth of a few all-powerful state and corporate monopolies. In order to be truly relevant for all, digitalization has to be anchored in global democratic discourses. The non-digital world must continue to exist freely. Not everything that can should be connected. Environment: Not everyone and every place has to be part of the digital development. First and foremost, we need an immediate fossil fuel phase-out. Digital policies, new digital research fields and economic interests should not obscure this political necessity. Similarly, nuclear energy is not a clean energy source and no alternative to fossil-based energy production. A sustainable digitalization can only be based on efficient, clean, fair, accessible, decentralized renewable energies. National, regional and global strategies and effective legislation to decrease the energy use of IT and communication technology are urgently needed. This includes ecodesign policies and comprehensive energy efficiency labeling. Future regulation should prohibit glued-in batteries or accumulators in electronic devises in order to ensure users to freely and autonomously replace them.Big IT-companies carry a social, ecological and economical responsibility to fight climate change. IT-companies have to move to 100% renewable energy in the next years, improve their energy efficiency and transparently disclose the source of their energy supply. undamental human rights cannot be limited by terms and conditions of business. IT and digital corporations have a responsibility to uphold human rights. This has to be an integral part of business practices as well as national, EU and international regulation. Similar to the corporate accountability index, IT-companies should have to ensure that their technologies, algorithms and software do not violate human rights. The supervision of these processes needs to be independent, transparent and publicly accessible. Governments need to start meeting their obligations to protect human rights and the environment against harmful activities of corporations. Thus, the introduction and regulation of corporations’ liabilities nationally and internationally is needed, including through the UN process towards a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights as well as the implementation of transparency initiatives along the value chain such as the Kimberly Process, conflict mineral laws or the UK Modern Slavery Act.Warranties need to become much more consumer-friendly. Transparency of a product’s durability has to increase through a mandatory identification of its life span by the producer. This includes a labeling system that transparently and comprehensibly informs customers of maximum service life (e.g. of expandable parts), of durability, reparability and modularity of a product. Any case of planned obsolescence should be considered a criminal offense on the bases of “willful deception”, and be regulated accordingly through consumer protection laws.The fundamental right to property should include the right to repair. All producers and retailers should make expandable parts accessible to all market actors during the service life of a product. The price of expandable parts needs to be reasonable and justifiable in relation to production costs. A legal claim for accessible expandable parts has to be ensured. Any data or documentation relevant for repairs as well as specific tools should be supplied to repair facilities at low to no costs. Information concerning repair-friendliness of a product has to be easy to spot for customers.Also on Economic Sustainability: In order to prevent an increase of unemployment due to changes in a digital world’s work place, we suggest a reduction of working hours down to 35-30 hours a week with a minimum of 30 vacation days. Freelancers and contract workers need to get the same social protection as the regular work force. Proper regulation of temporary work and contracted services need to be introduced and implemented. There should be no exceptions from minimum wage. This is especially important for platform economies.A free and fair internet needs space and competition for alternative, non-commercial, non-monopolistic products. Therefore, antitrust and competition laws have to be rigorously applied – including in the case of digital companies. IT and digital companies have to pay taxes where they generate revenue. Effective measures against tax evasion and fraud have to be applied nationally and internationally, including the strengthening of tax bodies and international tax cooperation within the EU and in an open and democratic UN institution. The goal of a common European digital strategy should not primarily be the creation of a common digital or e-commerce market or a European Silicon Valley with its own IT-companies. Regulations should rather focus on the protection of European citizens and consumers as well as the actual adherence of laws, including competition and antitrust laws. A European IT market can only develop with fair market conditions benefitting people and economies. The use of the internet as a common good has to be supported, including open source software and publicly available data. Digital services should be settled outside of trade agreements. If they are already included in trade agreements, transboundary flow of data, data localization, protection of personal data and privacy, transfer of and access to open source code, accountability, regulatory cooperation, net neutrality among other things have to be regulated.
Accessibility should be mainstreamed in all above subtopics for digital democracy. It is vital that digital tools, processes, meeting platforms are accessible for all citizens, including for persons with disabilities (i.e. accessible and interoperable public administration and services; accessible, easy to understand and easy to find information for transparent governance, including information in sign languages and easy to read format; accessible meeting platforms, consultation tools and documents to support e-participation; accessible e-voting and ensuring right to vote for all EU citizens). In the meantime, citizens should always have other – non-digital – options for democratic participation.