05 April, 2023

ETNO contribution to the consultation on the Global Digital Compact

ETNO and its members have long played a key role in global digital leadership, engaging with organizations such as the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the International Telecommunication Union, the Council of Europe, and the institutions of the European Union.

We strongly welcome the initiative of the UN Secretary General to propose a Global Digital Compact, as a key high-level track of the Summit of the Future, which recognises the vital role which digital technology and the internet play in the economy and society of the future. ETNO underlines the importance of the involvement of the full multistakeholder community throughout the entire Global Digital Compact process.


Our Thematic Input

  1. Connect all people to the internet, including all schools.

Connecting all people to the internet requires effective action on all three layers of the ICT ecosystem: accessible and trustworthy infrastructure and devices; appropriate applications and services built on the infrastructure, and digital skills. This requires policymaking based on two basic principles:

  • Public policies and regulations should promote the value of the entire communications and digital services ecosystem
  • Policies should promote competition, being technology-neutral, and support innovative business models

We must ensure that regulatory asymmetry, market distortions, or other factors do not limit the ability to maintain and develop the internet ecosystem. Investment and innovative financing models are key to deploy broadband services and connectivity, particularly in remote and rural areas.

  1. Avoid Internet fragmentation

Each actor in the multistakeholder community should commit to preventing internet shutdowns, ensuring common technological standards for the Internet architecture, the global free-flow of information, developing and promoting high standards of cybersecurity and confidence on the internet, and preserving the multistakeholder model of internet governance.

ETNO members support the open internet and invest in cybersecurity research and resilience measures to protect networks and data, participating in initiatives such as the International Communications CISO Council (ICCC) to enhance cybersecurity globally.

  1. Protect Data:

The international transfer of data is vital to the functioning of the global economy and social interaction: private and public organisations depend on data transfers to provide services.

The Global Digital Compact should encourage global cooperation and interoperability across policy and regulatory systems to remove unjustified obstacles to cross-border data flows. Trust in the internet and digital technologies should rely on cybersecurity and a trustworthy legal framework for data protection. Governments should ensure that data protection policies and regulations reflect privacy and security best practices and are up-to-date to support a trustworthy digital ecosystem.

  1. Apply Human Rights Online

Rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in accordance with legal and human rights obligations. Freedom of expression and privacy should be balanced with regulations to tackle illegal content online.

  1. Promote regulation of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has an enormous potential to benefit society and the economy by making processes more efficient and providing smart solutions. However, governments and companies must encourage the development of trustworthy AI that is respectful of human rights and democratic values. This includes principles like responsible stewardship of AI for positive outcomes, promoting inclusion and reducing inequalities, and protecting the environment. Developers and deployers should also follow rule of law and respect human rights, including freedom of expression, privacy, non-discrimination, and labour rights.

© ETNO 2024
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