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  • Deborah

On January 26, 2022, the European Commission (EC) published a draft Declaration on European Digital Rights and Principles, providing vision and guidance for a people-centred digital transformation.

Six digital rights and principles :

  1. Putting people at the centre of the digital transformation

  2. Solidarity and inclusion

  3. Freedom of choice

  4. Participation in the digital public space

  5. Safety, security and empowerment

  6. Sustainability

The first principle states that technology should serve and benefit people in respect of their fundamental rights.

Second, technology should also contribute to a fair society, enabling the exercise of rights and promoting inclusion, “leaving nobody behind”. The draft declaration makes special mention that elderly, persons with disabilities, or marginalised, vulnerable or disenfranchised people should be included in benefiting from digital transformation.

Key to promoting solidarity and inclusion :

  • Everyone should have access to affordable and high-speed connectivity, “wherever they live and whatever their income”. Moreover, the declaration commits to protecting a “neutral and open Internet where content, services and applications are not unjustifiably blocked or degraded”.

  • Everyone should be able to acquire all basic and advanced digital skills, enabling them to take an “active part in the economy, society and in democratic processes”.

  • Everyone has the right to “fair, just, healthy and safe working conditions and appropriate protection in the digital environment”.

  • Everyone should have access to all key public services online

The principle of freedom of choice focuses on people’s interactions with artificial intelligence and the respect of this fundamental right. Algorithmic systems should be based on “suitable datasets to avoid unlawful discrimination”. Furthermore, the online environment should be fair, providing choice of which online services to use and providing objective, transparent and reliable information to make those choices.

The digital environment should allow participation in a digital public space, providing access to a “trustworthy, diverse and multilingual” environment.

The environment should also be “safe, secure and privacy-protective by design”. Furthermore, everyone should have the right to the protection and control of their personal data online. Particular attention is made to protecting children.

Last, the EC declaration includes a principle on sustainability, bringing to the forefront issues on environmental and social impact.

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