The importance of data is paramount, not only for promoting innovation, but also for better policymaking and long-term development. Data has become a cornerstone for the digital economy and a strategic asset for promoting the vision of a people-centred and development-oriented ecosystem, set forth by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
In particular, data availability and data flows underpin emerging technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and the connected infrastructure that increasingly allows modern cities to function.
In the context of this data-driven economy, the governance of this key asset should be tackled in a multilayered way. On the one hand, there is a growing need to harmonise measures put in place at the national level (or ‘behind the border’) that have an impact on data flows and on the development of new technologies. On the other hand, it is important to tackle the geopolitical consequences of the concentration of key assets (data sets, cloud services, analytics capacity) and of wealth in the context of the data economy, and the potential impact that this concentration could have on development, stability, and on attaining the SDGs.
Some of the topics to be covered by speakers include:
- The geopolitics of data: How are data and data-related assets distributed worldwide? What is the importance of holistic data governance, especially in the context of emerging technologies?
- Emerging technologies and trade: Can trade agreements facilitate access to the inputs required for the development of emerging technologies, in particular data? How can they specifically benefit developing countries?
- Non-personal data: Could mechanisms for promoting access to non-personal data and data sharing benefit the ability of developing countries to pursue their digital industrialisation strategies?
- Privacy in the context of emerging technologies: What are the limitations of data protection frameworks in dealing with emerging technologies (e.g. AI), and which mechanisms could be implemented to safeguard the rights of individuals and the social benefits of data?
- Institutional arrangements: Next year, the UN Digital Future Summit will take place, continuing the important efforts condensed in the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. How to better coordinate data governance within the UN system and with other international organisations close to the UN family? Could the UN provide a space to address data governance in a more holistic and inclusive manner?
Opening remarks: Dr Jovan Kurbalija (Director, Diplo; Head, Geneva Internet Platform (GIP))
Moderation: Ms Marília Maciel (Head, Digital Commerce and Internet Policy, Diplo)
Ms Pilar Fajarnes Garces (Economic Affairs Officer, Technology and Logistics Division, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD))
Mr Luca Belli (Professor, FGV Law School; Head, Center for Technology and Society, FGV; Director, CyberBRICS)
Mr Hao Liu (Acting Chair, School of Global Governance, Beijing Institute of Technology)