Monthly Report 02/2024 – Executive Summary

Monthly Report 02/2024 – Executive Summary

Current Happenings in the Internet Governance Context in February 2024

EU and USA discuss digital issues together

The 5th meeting of the EU-US Trade & Technology Council took place on 30 January 2024 in Washington. Topics discussed included AI, 6G, the future of chip production, digital trade and digital identity. The meeting was chaired by EU Commissioners Vestager, Dombrovskis and Breton and US Ministers Blinken, Raimondo and Tai. The 6th meeting will take place in Belgium in spring 2024.

Speed dating for the Global Digital Compact

The first of two consultation rounds on the Global Digital Compact (GDC) took place on 12 and 13 February 2024. Over 50 governments and more than 50 non-governmental stakeholders had the opportunity to present their positions in three minutes each. A dialogue did not take place. A second round of consultations is planned for the beginning of March 2024. It remains unclear how the 200 or so statements will be incorporated into the "GDC Zero Draft" expected for early April 2024. The final text is to be negotiated between governments in three rounds and will be available by the beginning of July 2024. The GDC will be adopted as an annex to the "UN Pact for the Future" on 23 September 2024 at the UN Future Summit in New York.

Preparations for NetMundial+10 are in full swing

On 17 February 2024, the High Level Executive Committee was constituted to prepare the NetMundial+10 conference planned by and the Brazilian government. The 30-member committee is chaired by Renata Melli, CEO of Hartmut Glaser is head of the secretariat. Glaser was Chair of the 2024 NetMundial conference. Three working groups are preparing the program, procedure and a final document. NetMundial +10 will take place back-to-back with the G20 Digital Economy Working Group on 29 and 30 April 2024 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in São Paulo.

UN Convention against Cybercrime postponed

On 9 February 2024, the 7th round of negotiations to draft a UN convention against cybercrime in New York ended with a postponement. The original intention was to adopt the finalised convention text. Fundamental differences of opinion on the definition of cyber offences, the rule of law to be applied in the investigation, prosecution and extradition of criminals and the protection of human rights in strengthening cyber security prevented a consensus. Civil society organisations in particular are sceptical as to whether a further round of negotiations will succeed in bridging these divergences. Although there is a great deal of pressure for international agreements against growing cyber crime, no universal treaty (but bilateral treaties with like-minded states) is always better than a bad treaty that lowers standards for the protection of elementary individual rights.

The Munich Security Conferences in February 2024

At the 60th Munich Security Conference (MSC), the topics of cyber security and artificial intelligence took centre stage alongside the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. On the fringes of the MSC, 20 global companies, including Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI, TikTok, and X, agreed a pact against the misuse of artificial intelligence in elections.In the 2024 MSC Security Index, the threat of cyber attacks has risen from fourth place (2022) to second place, just behind climate change.

At the Munich Cybersecurity Conference (MCSC) taking place at the same time, US Secretary of the Interior Alejandro Mayorkas called for a "Cyber Social Compact" between governments, the private sector, technical developers and civil society. Responsibility for cyber security should not be shifted to end users but should be borne by developers and providers of digital services. It was the task of governments to set minimum standards and accelerate their implementation in practice (security by design).Internet guru Bruce Schneier said of AI: "This future requires us to see ourselves less as individuals, and more as part of larger systems. It's AI as nature, as Gaia, everything as one system. It's a future more aligned with the Buddhist philosophy of interconnectedness than Western ideas of individuality.

UNESCO network for platform regulation

On 22 February 2024, UNESCO founded an "Internet for Trust Global Knowledge Network" (I4T GKN). The network is to deal with the implementation of the UNESCO recommendation on platform regulation adopted in November 2023 and shall contribute to the reduction of fake news and hate speech. The network is headed by the former Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, Bill Dutton. The Hans Bredow Institute in Hamburg is one of the 35 founding members.

Wolfgang Kleinwächter

Professor Emeritus of Internet Policy & Regulation at Aarhus University