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  • Published 14.03.19

    Spotlight on Digital Spaces: towards a Comprehensive Understanding of Children's Rights

    Stiftung Digitale Chancen

    The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in November 1989. It was visionary and at the same time comprehensible, binding on the signatory states and thus influential, and it is still of great importance today. Thirty years later, for a comprehensive understanding of how the rights of children codified in the Convention are to be interpreted and implemented in view of the impact of digitisation on their everyday lives, a so-called General Comment is now being drafted for the first time. The proposal submitted by the British 5Rights Foundation with the participation of various stakeholders, including the Children's Rights.digital project, was adopted by the Committee on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations in February and will be implemented within the next approx. one and a half years.

    What is it about?

    Today Children are growing up in an increasingly interconnected environment, where digital technologies have a significant impact on their living conditions. By elaboration of a General Comment this situation, and the specific rights of the child playing a key role in it, will be examined more closely. This will also involve clarifying the roles and responsibilities of politicians, businesses, parents, educators and children themselves. The aim of the General Comment is to provide a binding interpretation of how states can fulfil their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the context of digitisation of everyday life. This will set a new international standard for children's rights in the digital world.

    What are the next steps?

    In March, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child launched an online public consultation to gather comments on the direction and content of the General Comment. Contributions to the consultation can be sent as Word documents by e-mail to crc@ohchr.org by 15 May 2019; they should not exceed six pages. In parallel, preparations are underway for a global children's participation process to take place in the summer months of 2019, as well as for expert consultations from autumn 2019 onwards. A first draft of the General Comment is expected to be submitted at the beginning of 2019 for public consultation in another online consultation.

    Further possibilities for participation

    The Guidelines to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment, adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in July 2018, provide good guidance on the impact of digitisation on children's lives and the exercise of their rights. The guidelines are now also available in German language, prepared by the childrens-rights.digital project. You can download the document here or order a printed version via e-mail info@kinderrechte.digital

    The United Nations Internet Governance Forum, which will take place for the first time in Germany from 25 to 29 November, offers a further opportunity to put the issue of children's rights and digitisation at the centre of the debate. Proposals for the IGF programme can be submitted until 12 April.

    Bring in your ideas and comments as well as research results and practical experience and help to develop a contemporary understanding of rights to protection and freedom for the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that meets the challenges of digitalisation of children's everyday lives.

  • Published 07.02.19

    Message from the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group Chair

    IGF Internet Governance Forum, IGF Internet Governance Forum

    The first face-to-face Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Open Consultation and MAG Meeting of 2019 ?has just concluded in Geneva. The community and the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (IGF-MAG) ?reviewed activities across the IGF ecosystem and began advancing plans for IGF 2019 and ?associated intersessional activities.?

    You can find the full post on Lynn St.Amour's MAG Chair's Blog.

  • Published 20.11.18

    The Right to protection from sexual exploitation and violence

    Stiftung Digitale Chancen

    The protection of children against sexual violence is the subject of the conference "Wissen was die Praxis schaf(f)t" in Berlin on 19th and 20th November. The right to protection is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN-KRK, Art. 19 und UN-KRK, Art. 34. Federal Family Minister Dr. Franziska Giffey referred to this and called for child protection to be strengthened in the new Child and Youth Welfare Act as well as in the new Youth Media Protection Act. Both are important legislative projects that shall be passed in this legislative period. According to the Minister, it is necessary to pay attention to signs of sexualised violence against children and to talk about them. At the same time, she called for low-threshold, permanent aid structures and competent specialised counselling centres, also in rural areas.

    Referring to 18 November, the European Day on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Giffey called for the fight against such crimes to be better organised than organised crime; data protection should not lead to criminals being protected. In order to give children their right to protection, a child-friendly justice is needed; therefore it is important to include the rights of children in the German Constitution. Even if this will be only a phrasing of a few words, it will set a signal for children's rights.

  • Published 18.11.18

    Clear Goals and ethical Values - Common Responsibilities for the Internet of the Future

    Jutta Croll

    The Internet Governance Forum 2018 in Paris ended last week with a clear appeal by the French Government to face up to the challenges and assume joint responsibility for the Internet.

    Mounir Manjoubi, Secretary of State for Digital Affairs in the French Ministry of Economics and Finance stressed in his final statement: “The multilateral aspect of the IGF is something that France supports more than ever. We acknowledge the importance of the IGF and underline the fact that we want to work together with IGF in order to take decisions. To do this we need to take on our responsibility and seize the opportunity to shape the world before us as many have been hoping for for decades.” France does neither advocate excessive nor negligent regulation, but rather policies designed to protect and respect the common good, so Manjoubi.

    Fabrizio Hochschild, UN Deputy Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, also stressed that the Internet could not be a legal vacuum. Where the rule of law does not exist, the law of the mightier applies; this does not mean freedom, but rather abuse. With regard to artificial intelligence - one of the main topics of this year's IGF - Hochschild questioned the possibility of programming computers in such a way that they are able to make ethical decisions.

    This aspect was also taken up again on Thursday, Nov. 15th at the UNESCO event on the use of artificial intelligence for the knowledge society, which took place at the Mozilla Foundation. In particular, the question of respect for human rights was discussed. Decisions should not be based solely on algorithms, so the prevailing opinion, because this basically goes hand in hand with the problem that existing positions continue to be handed down and reinforced. This is particularly the case with regard to gender aspects, but also with regard to disadvantaged groups such as children or the elderly, refugees or the disabled. Michael J. Oghia, Global Forum for Media Development, stressed that freedom of expression is also limited by law and the rights of others. Anyone who disseminates false information on the Internet clearly violates such rules. This has not only gained relevance through the Internet. There have been lies since mankind could speak, but the Internet is an amplifier and accelerator. In most cases, the deliberate misinformation, which can also be described as propaganda, receives more attention than the later fact check. This has to be counteracted by transparency and media literacy.

    Technical innovations in the field of the Internet of Things, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence as well as corresponding opportunities for economic development and ethical challenges will form the thematic bridge from Paris to the Internet Governance Forum in Berlin, which will take place from 24 to 29 November in the Estrel Conference Centre. Thus, thirty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 November 1989, the IGF 2019 can be a platform next year to pay appropriate attention to the rights of children in the digital environment.

    Please find here our reports from the IGF.

    Paris Peace Forum opens the Paris Digital Week 2018.

    Report on IGF Day 1 - Putting people at the centre.

    Report on IGF Day 2 - Children's Rights - Child Protection - Human Rights.

    Report on IGF Day 23 - Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

  • Published 14.11.18

    Artificial Intelligence, Big data and the Internet of Things - report from day 3 IGF 2018, 14.11.2018

    Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen

    Day three of the IGF started with the Best Practice Forum on Artificial Intelligence. Such thematic forums are part of the activities that take place between the annual IGFs, with the intention of exploring topics of current interest in greater depth.

    Nobuhisa Nishigata, OECD pointed out how difficult it is to exploit the benefits of artificial intelligence while keeping risks under control. Imane Bello, Sciences Lecturer, Human Rights & AI, proposed to avoid the terms Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, after all, it's all about people, not just machines, she said

    Taylor Bentley, ISED, Canadian Government, explained the Canadian approach of working with business and academia to develop legislation for IoT, AI and Big Data. However, there are currently more examples of unsafe and risky applications, the representative of MISEC, an IT security company, said.

    The difficult balance between security and innovation was also addressed by Michael Nelson, Cloudflare. All participants agreed that IoT, AI and Big Data offer excellent opportunities to make the world a better place. But this can only succeed if human rights are respected and the needs of particularly vulnerable groups are taken into account and the risks minimized. This requires a balanced relationship between government regulation and the willingness of companies to implement Safety by Design as a principle of development and design.

    Human Rights and the impact of domain names was the topic of another session this morning. Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs) are a useful and increasingly widespread tool to inform private actors of the potential negative impacts of their policies, and to help mitigate their consequences. Currently, there is little mutual acceptance of the results of HRIAs if they were carried out either by business or civil society, says Michelle Neylon, representative of an Irish company responsible for domain name registration. The proposal to implement ICANN's and IGF's multi-stakeholder model for HRIAs could help avoid misunderstandings. However, companies are generally sceptical about the enforcement of human rights with regard to additional contractual requirements. In response to questions, those involved in the session stressed that child sexual abuse representations are content that violates human rights. There was a willingness to tackle the problem together, but further discussion of contractual and technical possibilities was needed. At the beginning of December, an article will appear in the magazine Medien + Erziehung - merz Wissenschaft, pointing out a way to do this. Access to the English translation of the text will be published here.

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