This session sought to highlight the impact of the expansion of technology and digitalisation on human rights and democracy in the South and the main issues around it (data privacy and sovereignty, inequality, shrinking civic space, etc.). This meant addressing the challenges of incorporating digital rights into human ones while taking into consideration the geopolitical landscape. Specifically, which role the European Union could play in it.
We had a discussion on potential tools for dealing with these challenges at four levels, seeking to build a common ground among all participants:
- Public sector (regulations or other possible procedures)
- Civil society (construction of alternatives, defense of rights)
- Private sector (concrete practices / other business models)
Technology represented as a building was the image that held together presentations at this panel. With digitalisation said to be a hostile space, especially for the most vulnerable in society, calls were heard for the EU to forge new partnerships and rebuild. Instead of patching up problems, as has been the case with the climate crisis, Europe, Africa, Latin America and others now have a chance to build better principles going forward. The panel concluded that we are in the early days of the infrastructure of the future.