IGF 2019 WS #36 Data-Driven Democracy: Ensuring Values in the Internet Age


Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Matthias C. Kettemann, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Nadine Abdalla, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Elke Greifeneder, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Jessica Berlin, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Tamirace Fakhoury, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Additional Speakers

Gustavo Paiva, Civil Society


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Ethical, political, legal and regulatory dimensions for new technologies:

  • What is the relationship between technological, economic, ethical, political considerations and legal and regulatory frameworks in data-driven technologies?
  • How are they connected and what may happen if those relationships undergo changes?

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Description: The panel consists of experts from different fields of knowledge and different regions and, furthermore, experts in practical application and international technology networks, human development and international project implementation. Thus, the panel is inter- and transdisciplinary to support a highly diverse and holistic view on data governance. On the one hand, we have experts on technology (Dr.-Ing. Tobias Redlich) and internet governance (Dr. Kettemann, Germany) as well as information science (Prof. Greifeneder, Germany), on the other hand, we have political scientists with a non-european view sharing their insights into the political terms of democratization, governance and transformation including the perspectives of youth (Dr. Abdalla, Egypt) and refugees (Dr. Fakhoury, Lebanon). Furthermore, Jessica Berlin will support the panel with her professional knowledge on human development, public private partnerships, makers and open source hardware. The onsite moderator Dr.-Ing. Tobias Redlich (Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg) has in-depth knowledge about participatory technology development, open source hardware, value creation and human-machine-interaction. His special concern is to promote inter- and transdisciplinary discussions on human-centered technology development and technology governance. Therefore, Dr.-Ing. Tobias Redlich initiated JF:TEC together with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Robert Weidner: In order to promote the interdisciplinary exchange of young researchers, the "Young Forum Technical Sciences" (JF:TEC) was founded on the initiative of the Laboratory Production Engineering (LaFT) of the Helmut Schmidt University (HSU). JF:TEC works on solutions to the challenges of current and future technology development and design (http://jftec.de/) (Issue 332: “We need a viable shift from technology-centric development to human-centred development of AI. The technology has to be adapted to users and society in the long-term.”) Dr. Kettemann will share knowledge on the normativity of technology and the design of governance from a jurisprudential point of view. Dr. Abdalla delivers thoughts from the field of political transformation and youth movements and how basic political principles might influence the debate. Prof. Dr. Greifeneder can support the discussion by her insights into information behavior and user experience design in relation to filter bubbles. Dr. Fakhoury will talk about refugees and narratives of agency in the digital world. Jessica Berlin is able to place the questions of data and internet governance within the broader framework of international development on the background of her experience in the establishment of an international network of makers. We expect a controversial debate beyond naive technical euphoria, which recognizes and takes into account the advantages and benefits of digital technologies, but places the debate in theoretical, practical and multi-perspective lines of arguments that emanate from people. The auditorium will be involved to the greatest extent possible. The experts will discuss the questions and consider different positions to analyze the actual influence of AI, algorithms and filter bubbles on our society. We will support a dynamic presentation of the main diverse viewpoints by interacting with the auditorium at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the panel. Based on different points of participation we foster engagement and increase the overall learning effect. Thus, 60 minutes of the panel are reserved for participation and exchange with and within the auditorium, onsite and online. 0 Introduction of the panel Therefore, at the beginning of the workshop, central questions and images on the topic will be shown visually via a silent presentation at the podium that will increase first thoughts on the respective themes and foster an emotional warm-up. I First part of the panel At the beginning of the panel each participant in the onsite and online auditorium (via tweets, posts on Facebook and pictures on instagram) is asked to write down his or her top three questions related to the theme ‘Data-Driven Democracy: Ensuring Values in the Internet Age’. Then after the introduction of the onsite moderator each panelist receives 5 minutes of speaking time (in sum 30 minutes). During this first time of the speakers the participants erase questions on their paper that may already have been answered. After each talk the auditorium is asked to exchange thoughts by whispering in one minute (in sum 5 minutes). After all introducing talks the first question and answer session follows (max. 10 minutes) to exchange ideas with the auditorium and clarify short-term questions. The online discussion is already integrated in the question and answer round by the online moderator within this first part of the panel. II Second part of the panel In sum, after a maximum of 45 minutes the second part of the workshop will begin. At first the onsite moderator will summarize the first part of the panel. Then the more intensive exchange with the present and online auditorium begins. The online discussion is conducted simultaneously in the second part and integrated onsite as far as possible, which is the responsibility of the online moderator. After the first 20 minutes of the second part of the panel, the auditorium again is asked to conduct a whispered exchange with their sitting neighbour for a maximum of 5 minutes to enhance learning effects. Afterwards the onsite including online question and answer panel discussion will be continued. III Result of the workshop As a result of the workshop, the central positions and possible measures are to be derived. The onsite moderator will summarize the discussion. At the end we want to deliver the auditorium a takeaway in form of supplemented material and a handout of the main policy questions we are going to raise during the panel.

Expected Outcomes: The central lines of argumentation around data governance from the perspective of engineering sciences, law, information sciences and political sciences as well as from the perspective of practitioners, makers, youth and refugees should become clear from an international perspective.

Wide range of exchange within the audience, between the podium and the audience as well as the integration of the online community is the aim of the organizational team (for this purpose 60 minutes are reserved). To this end, the date of the workshop will also be announced in the existing community of individual speakers and organizers in order to ensure the participation of the international community. Before the beginning of the workshop the auditorium will see pictures and citations as kind of warm-up and inspiring first thoughts about the theme. Quite before the panel begins participants will be asked to write down their three most important questions concerning the panel to ensure that the most pressing questions are answered or discussed as the panel progresses. We will use the participative method of whispered exchange of thoughts after each talk to increase the knowledge exchange and the participants' engagement. There will be 10 minutes Q & A after the first talks of the panelists. Afterwards the onsite moderator will summarize the first part of the panel to introduce the more intensive Q & A onsite, supported by online participation and discussion, that shapes the entire process of the second part of the panel only interrupted by a whispered exchange in the middle.

Relevance to Theme: On the one hand, digital applications based on algorithms support our everyday lives and facilitate communication, networking, information research and knowledge exchange. On the other hand, such applications can lead to dead ends, such as creating filter bubbles that throw us into an isolated environment that constantly replicates itself. This raises the question, how we can take advantage of technological innovation and the benefits of digitisation in terms of digital sovereignty without losing achievements of our social coexistence based on democratic values? Which political and legal norms would have to be shaped by standards into a holistic internet governance, so that individual sovereignty and self-determination are preserved? In the face of large internet companies with monopoly status, users are, for example, coerced to adapt their own decisions, e.g. on data protection, acceptance of the privacy policy in practical applications. Otherwise users would miss the technological innovation and would not be able to use its advantages. Is this a framework where people are still able to shape data governance in such a way that it satisfies basic democratic values? What are the perspectives of youth and refugees thereby? And how would we be able to include them? Regulation must ensure transparency if it does not affect the shape and scope of algorithms themselves. Everyone must know how to influence their own decisions on data and what the consequences of their decisions are.

Relevance to Internet Governance: What influence do filter bubbles and algorithms have on our social coexistence? How can the influence on our society, our political system be weighed, which standards do we need? Who should decide on the respective standards? Which values should be integrated into the development of standards? We need a viable shift from technology-centric development and problem solving to human-centred development of technology so that humans do not have to adapt to the technology, but the technology has to be adapted to users and society in the long-term. Therefore, we have to promote an interdisciplinary discussion and provide information on the status quo, the controversial perspectives of the stakeholders, measures to be taken, and jointly develop internet governance adapted to different perspectives.

Online Participation

We will use the official online participation tool by IGF to support and include online participation. The online community will receive the chance to follow the panel and participate at any time. The online moderator will be highly active and engaged.

Proposed Additional Tools: We will support the social media engagement by posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In order to support the work of the online moderator, if possible, colleagues from the local organizations will be consulted for support, including linguistic translation of the posts/tweets at the specific time of the workshop. The online moderator will collect as well as cluster the comments and in coordination with the onsite moderator will always bring questions of the online community live into the discussion.

1. Key Policy Questions and Expectations

Ethical, political, legal and regulatory dimensions for new technologies:

  • What is the relationship between technological, economic, ethical, political considerations and legal and regulatory frameworks in data-driven technologies?
  • How are they connected and what may happen if those relationships undergo changes?

Who holds the data necessary for democratic decision-making? 

How can we support digital sovereignty based on democratic values?

What influence do filter bubbles and algorithms have on our social coexistence?

2. Summary of Issues Discussed

There was broad support for the view that we should have a discussion on data governance including different stakeholder groups.The importance of data for development, identity as well as for our country and everyday lifes was commonly stated. A main theme was how to design systems in a proper user-oriented way. No agreement could be found on to what extent technological solution are able to solve the problems of data privacy and regulation or user behavior within the data governance discussion. Another disagreement was about to what extent democratic decision making processes are shaking in their core or on the other hand are stable, trustworthy and secure.

3. Policy Recommendations or Suggestions for the Way Forward

We have to discuss data governance including different stakeholder groups.

We have to create a better way of using data; e.g. a better data documentation standard.

We have to be engaged and have to look after the existing democratic procedures and values.

We do not have to re-invent everything. We have laws, standards on which we can built on.

We need national automated decision making strategies.

We should support participative technical development; privacy by design and support Open Source Projects.

Politics should support fora where every stakeholder group is involved in participative technological development to foster co-design.

Subsidies and incentives for peoples especially in rural areas to support common technological integration.

4. Other Initiatives Addressing the Session Issues
  • Global identity: project three words.
  • Freedom information right,
  • Projects to inform the citizens, e.g. Frag den Staat / My data


5. Making Progress for Tackled Issues
  • Open data including better data documentation
  • Privacy by design
  • Open Source movement
  • Co-Design
6. Estimated Participation

est. 50 onsite participants, est. 10 online participants, est. 25 women present onsite, est. 4 women online.

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Reaching out for user that are a minority within the digital community. Bring technology to rural areas and involve older people as well as all group that are not involved in technological development until now. Create fora to bring everyone together to co-design and identify opportunities.

Distinction for digital products might be introduced according to their development based on inclusion of different stakeholder groups, e.g. elderly, women.