In this two-minute except of a speech given by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the Davos Agenda Week, she calls on governments to create a digital rule book which will be implemented worldwide. This rule book, she adds, will need to be based on humanity’s long-held values: human rights, pluralism, inclusion and protection of individual privacy. She stresses that internet companies must be held responsible for how they disseminate and remove information, and that they must not be allowed to interfere with freedom of expression based on their company rules alone. She says, “we want the platforms to be transparent about how their algorithms work. Because we cannot accept that decisions, that have a far-reaching impact on our democracy, are taken by computer programmes alone”.
Editor’s Note: In recent months, internet companies have been given a free rein on curating the information they will allow to spread on their platforms. They have successfully gagged all dissenting opinions, and have effectively cancelled true debate. If we learned anything from history, then we know that this is how dictatorship and authoritarianism starts. Creating a digital rule book to prevent unlawful censorship will only be the beginning of taking our voice back.
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