Global Digital Justice Forum’s Response to the Joint Questionnaire for CSTD’s 20-Year Review of WSIS Implementation

The Global Digital Justice Forum responded to the Joint Questionnaire for CSTD's 20-year review of the World Summit on Information Society implementation. The submission focused on the fact that instead of the vision of "people-centered, inclusive and development oriented" future, the digital era has been driven by increasing exclusions, digital divides, authoritarian regimes and a platformized and Big-Tech-led paradigm.

The injustices of the digital paradigm, including human rights violations, must be acknowledged in the WSIS+20 review process. The submission called for recognition of the unfolding data and AI paradigm and its legal, regulatory and ethical basis as an important first step. Additionally, binding rules that place accountability at the doors of digital transnational corporations, is also essential. Inter-agency cooperation within the UN is another must, which should also consider orienting itself towards the digital transformation.

The submission focuses on emerging trends in the digital economy, which drive implementation of the WSIS promise. These include the imminent rise of digital monopolies, precarious work in the platform economy, digital infrastructure divide among countries, online violence and undermining of civic space, and growing unsustainability of the digital economy. Additionally, the submission discusses forward looking priorities for WSIS, which are enumerated below.

  1.     A just and equitable data governance regime that is based on and promotes human rights
  2.     Refining the human rights framework to account for data rights
  3.     Improved taxation structures to meet the challenges of the digital economy
  4.     Digital public infrastructures created by and for the global South
  5.     A responsible and responsive AI paradigm, which is translated into effective regulatory frameworks
  6.     An International economic regime that serves all
  7.     Digitalization pathways that respect planetary boundaries

(This submission was made with the support of members of the Global Digital Justice Forum, in particular, Anriette Esterhuysen, Sean O'Siochru, Cedric Leterme, Philip Seufert, Sally Burch. Please read the full submission here.)

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