Over the last couple of decades, computing and the array of human interactions it facilitates have played a massive role in changing the way we live. Wikileaks and the civilian revolution in Egypt are two globally visible examples, but computing, now interwoven with almost every aspect of our lives, also affects us on very private levels. Companies across the ICT sector are increasingly intermediary to our sociality.
A debate on digital values – trust
With the Digital Agenda, the Stockholm Program, the Internal Security Strategy, and the Internal Market reboot, the Commission has started some important initiatives which focus on technologies that impact our society and our societal behavior.
But how do we ensure transparency and due process when working towards public policy goals such as online safety, consumer protection, security or freedom of expression in the light of ever increasing complexity of the technology ecosystem? How can European values, laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, be fostered and ensured when policy imperatives change in the face of the innovation pace; how do we define responsibilities and accountabilities, and how does governance look like? As it sometimes happens in the real world, are freedom and security mutually-exclusive values in the digital world? Or, in Hilary Clinton’s words: what are the rights and wrongs in a networked world?
On 25 January we launched a debate on digital values to provoke a forward-looking, overarching conversation between an inter-disciplinary group of experts. Our first discussion addressed trust as an abstract concept. Trust underpins many existing and forthcoming, legislative and non-legislative activities to boost growth in the digital economy and often we hear that we need to increase trust. And is that so indeed? Our guest speaker, Richard Harper from MS Research came forward with some surprising perspectives on whom to trust or not. We will publish a summary of the discussion soon. Stay tuned.
Further scheduled discussions will evoke questions around secured connectivity, future consumer protection, and freedom of expression. Read more about Digital Values series of events here.