Unchecked technology, democracies in danger: Beyond fake news

beyond-fake-news

Since the U.S. presidential election and the Brexit referendum, both in 2016, the risk to Western democracies from fake news has been part of the global political debate. But in the twenty-first century, five years of technology is a long time. And the dangers have grown, becoming more sophisticated. While platforms and the authorities barely manage to lessen the spread of fake news on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, new risks are starting to be tangible within the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2021, we should no longer trust a video with inflammatory statements from a political leader: it might have been created with AI. And these deep fakes are just one of the manifestations of the phenomenon we find ourselves in. 

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World Telecommunication and Information Society Day has become passé: it needs a new push

world-telecommunication-and-information-society-day

On Monday, May 17, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is once again being celebrated. The commemoration is the result of a 2006 resolution from the UN General Assembly. Its purpose? To promote knowledge on the possibilities for development and economic and social prosperity from the Internet and other information technologies. 

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City councils facing the digital transition: Barcelona proposes online delivery tax

online-delivery-tax

The complex debate on taxation of large Internet platforms affects all levels, from the large institutions involved in global governance – such as the G20 and IMF – to city councils in cities that have around two million people, such as Barcelona. For a while now the Catalan city council has been working to implement a tax on home delivery of online purchases. The measure is after an essential objective: to defend the traditional commercial structure and small businesses from the rise of e-commerce, a market dominated by multinational platforms such as Amazon and AliExpress. 

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It’s not just business, it’s the future of European sovereignty

future-of-european-sovereignty

Surely the scene is familiar to you. To give a gift, the discounts or just in daily life, we turn to e-commerce, so comfortable and tempting in these strange times when crowds make us feel apprehensive. And once we decide to buy ‘online’, the most reliable alternative is Amazon, with its huge offer, competitive prices and, above all, its efficient delivery system.

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Post-holiday business blues and the future of European sovereignty

european-sovereignty

The Christmas holidays are over, extended in Spain to Three Kings Day, and the yearly ritual now heads directly to the sales season. A few years back it was a big social and economic event; now, in part because of the effect from Black Friday, it’s lost some relevance but is still marked on the calendar in red for many businesses.

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The European Recovery Plan and Digitalization: urgency mustn’t distract from the essentials

european-recovery-plan

The serious discrepancies between the European Parliament and the Council, chaired this six-month period by Germany, confirm what was already felt: It will not be easy to implement the historic EU post-COVID reconstruction agreement, closed last July by the heads of government. This is bad news for everyone, but especially for the countries most in need of this shot of investment, such as Italy and Spain. 

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An historic agreement, a great opportunity for EU digitalization

eu-digitalization

Europe has sealed an historic agreement, reached after five days of negotiations. The 27 have launched a huge financial package to drive the post-COVID economic recovery and have set the budgetary roadmap until 2027 for modernisation of the continental economy. This is historic as it provides a quick response to bounce back after the blow taken from the pandemic, and historic for the huge amount of funds mobilised now and for coming years. 

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‘Committees of sages’ and digital rights: how to move from theory to reality

digital-rights

Gradually, digitalization, in its broadest sense, is beginning to have a prominent place on the political agenda of governments and institutions. This is a transversal and multidimensional challenge for society as a whole, affecting health, education, wealth creation, mobility, democratic freedoms, the free market, etc. Digital transformation can bring enormous benefits for people, companies – of all sizes – and society overall if the transition process is done in an orderly, rational, and inclusive way. The necessary transition also entails challenges and risks, as adjustments will have to be made and accepted; hence the importance of reaching consensus among all the parties involved. This is why we welcome the launch, by the Spanish Government, of a group of experts who will advise them on the creation of a Digital Rights Charter. Addressed here will be rights already recognized in Spanish legislation – for example, data protection – and more recent realities, such as new labour relations and artificial intelligence. 

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Building a European Cloud: a necessary but difficult challenge

european-cloud

The EU now has its ‘moonshot’ for the next decade. The German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, used this term, which is shorthand for projects that are very ambitious both in time and investment, to refer to GAIA-X, the european cloud services platform that the two strongest governments in the EU, Germany and France, are launching. 

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