OHCHR consultation on human rights and technical standard-setting processes for new and emerging digital technologies

On 15 February 2023, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) will hold a consultation on human rights and technical standard-setting processes for new and emerging digital technologies.

The consultation will inform the report on the relationship between human rights and technical standards that the OHCHR will present to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) at its 53rd session in June 2023. The report was required by the HRC it is July 2021 resolution on new and emerging digital technologies and human rights.

The event will take place in Geneva, at the Palais des Nations, and online. Registration is open until 14 February 2023.

More details, including an agenda and list of speakers, will be made available on the dedicated OHCHR webpage.

Commission on the Status of Women: 67th session

The 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67), to be held between 6 and 17 March 2023, will have as its priority theme ‘innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls’.

Some of the topics to be discussed under this theme will include addressing barriers to bridge the gender digital divide and promote education in the digital age, and fostering inclusive innovation and technological change to empower women and girls and create safer digital spaces.

The meeting is open to UN member states, UN entities, and non-governmental organisations accredited by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

CSW is the main global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, and it functions as a commission of ECOSOC.

For more details, consult the CSW67 dedicated website.

EU-US Trade and Technology Council holds third ministerial meeting

The third ministerial meeting of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) was held on 5 December 2022 in Washington, DC, USA. During the meeting, the two parties:

  • Reiterated the importance of cooperating on trust and security in the ICT ecosystem and noted that the TTC Working Group on ICTS security and competitiveness plans to discuss transatlantic subsea cables’ connectivity and security, including alternative routes, such as the transatlantic route to connect Europe, North America and Asia.
  • Reiterated their commitment to developing and implementing trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI), building on the Joint Roadmap on Evaluation and Measurement Tools for Trustworthy AI and Risk Management.
  • Announced plans to launch a pilot project to assess the use of privacy-enhancing technologies and synthetic data in health and medicine.
  • Announced plans to establish an expert task force to strengthen research and development cooperation on quantum information science, develop common frameworks for assessing technology readiness, discuss intellectual property, and export control-related issues as appropriate, and work together to advance international standards.
  • Announced progress on increasing standards cooperation, for instance through the Strategic Standards Information mechanism meant to enable the EU and the USA to share information about international standardisation activities and react to common strategic issues.
  • Announced that the US Department of Commerce and the European Commission are entering into an administrative arrangement to implement an early warning mechanism to address and mitigate semiconductor supply chain disruptions in a cooperative way.
  • Stressed the importance of eliminating the use of arbitrary and unlawful surveillance to target human rights defenders, and expressed concerns over government-imposed internet shutdowns.
  • Announced plans to enhance transatlantic trade, for instance through developing joint best practices for the use of digital tools to simplify or reduce the cost of commercial actors’ interactions with the governments in relation to trade-related policy, legal requirements, or regulatory requirements.
  • Announced the launch of a Talent for Growth Task Force to facilitate exchanges of experiences on training and capacity building and serve as a catalyst for innovative skills policies.

These and other commitments and initiatives are outlined in the joint statement issued at the end of the meeting.