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Legislative approaches for a user-centric digital space

Youth IGF
Legislative approaches for a user-centric digital space
By Youth IGF • Issue #6 • View online
Issues such as privacy, cybersecurity, data protection, content policy and user protection have already received great attention from legislators across the world. However, no comprehensive global legal approaches to a user-centric internet have been found so far. What can be done to improve the situation and, most importantly, who should lead the process?

The international community has recently realised the importance of introducing legal solutions for the regulation of digital space in order to protect citizens'‎ rights online. Issues such as privacy, cybersecurity, data protection, content policy and user protection have already received great attention from legislators across the world. However, the process of making laws and applying them to the digital world is still complicated, and no comprehensive global legal approaches to a user-centric internet have been found so far. What can be done to improve the situation and, most importantly, who should lead the process?
Law in digital space. Credit: Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.
Law in digital space. Credit: Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.
When addressing the legislative aspect of internet regulation, the role of parliamentarians should be emphasised. They are the ones approving laws, so their participation in internet governance regulation is key. Since different countries have different legal systems, this is when international cooperation is needed. This was the message from Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations at the IGF 2021 parliamentary roundtable in Katowice.
Political leaders must ensure communication between countries in the legal field. While some states are more active in this regard, others still lag behind. Private organisations and human rights activists cannot act alone – strong government participation is required. During a live commentary session organised by the Youth IGF direct from IGF 2021, Youth IGF leaders argued that all stakeholders should contribute to the growth and usefulness of the internet.
Government. Credit: Photo by Clareich on Pixabay.
Government. Credit: Photo by Clareich on Pixabay.
At the same time, clever laws can only be created by clever lawmakers, stressed Marina Kaljurand, Member of the European Parliament and former Estonian foreign minister. Parliamentarians bear a big responsibility when it comes to introducing the right legislation, especially concerning the digital space. Politicians need to have skills and capabilities to succeed in this. Bigger representation for women is also of huge importance. Members of parliament often experience difficulties with understanding the technical side of the issue, meaning they are in need of much more awareness-raising, education and capacity-building. And the exchange of experience between politicians from different countries is essential.
Professor Tim Unwin from Holloway University of London believes that European countries, who have been the leaders in introducing legislation so far, also have to learn from African and Latin American countries in order to see how we can successfully align respective legislations and exchange best practices.
 Youth IGF @IGF2021 Live commentary from parliamentary session on legislative approaches for a user-centric digital space. Day 2. Hosted by Yuliya Morenets. With Prof Tim Unwin, Dunsin Fatuase, Bernardo Sequeiros.
Youth IGF @IGF2021 Live commentary from parliamentary session on legislative approaches for a user-centric digital space. Day 2. Hosted by Yuliya Morenets. With Prof Tim Unwin, Dunsin Fatuase, Bernardo Sequeiros.
Thomas Schneider, Head of international affairs at the Federal Office of Communication of Switzerland, pointed out that modern legal systems are mostly incapable of keeping up with the fast development of digital technologies, as it can take years to write new laws. This is where politicians can turn to the younger generations.
Young people with digital skills, as well as young lawyers, can assist decision-makers and come up with creative ideas and tangible solutions to speed up the process.
“Youth are more agile, speed comes with youth,” said Dunsin Fatuase, a Youth IGF Partner from Nigeria.
Thematic groups can be established within parliaments, comprised of young specialists in the field of digital technologies and law. Tech-savvy youngsters can give their recommendations to policymakers and help reduce the gap. Cooperation between parliamentarians and young people is therefore crucial, says Bernardo Sequeiros, a Youth IGF Partner from Portugal.
Young people. Credit: Photo by Dimhou on Pixabay.
Young people. Credit: Photo by Dimhou on Pixabay.
The involvement of young people in political life is not only important for politicians, but for young people themselves. They should have a chance to learn from policymakers and to understand the process so they can become future leaders in the field. During a podcast briefing from Day 2 of the IGF 2021 in Katowice, Yuliya Morenets, founder of the Youth IGF, said that all stakeholders should realise the need for youth participation in policy and regulatory process.
Youth IGF - Podcast briefing Youth IGF @ IGF 2021
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