Digital Watch newsletter – Issue 53 – September 2020

EDITORIAL

Each month we analyse hundreds of unfolding developments to identify key trends in digital policy and their underlying issues. These were the trends in September.

1. Digital issues remain on the UNGA agenda

Every year, the third week of September is dedicated to the start of the general debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). This year, as the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, the general debate was under unusual circumstances: world leaders no longer spoke from the GA podium in New York, but delivered their statements via pre-recorded videos. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and social implications took centre stage during the debate, as leaders underlined that COVID-19 should not be allowed to slow down the progress towards sustainable development. Calls for climate action and for stopping world conflicts, as well as the need to reform multilateralism, were also recurrent throughout the statements.

Digital policy issues, although not dominant on the agenda, featured in about a quarter of the statements. World leaders made reference to the need to narrow the digital divide, which has become even more obvious with the shift to teleworking and online education. Some spoke about the advantages of digital transformation, while others called for more efforts in preparing the workforce for the future of work. References were also made to the rise in cybercrime and cyber-warfare, and there were calls for actors to guide their behaviour in cyberspace by agreed norms. Read more below.

During the High-Level Segment of the UNGA, the international community held a series of events to affirm its commitment to digital cooperation and to connecting, respecting, and protecting all people in the digital age. The events built on the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for digital cooperation, which, together with the options paper developed by the UAE and Germany, are expected to inform a Secretary-General decision on an institutional architecture for better global digital cooperation. The Internet Governance Forum Plus (IGF+) outlined in the report of the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation is prevailing (with elements from other models), but it remains to be seen what the Secretary-General will decide. 

Remaining in the realm of expectations, we may see more focus within the UN on the interplay between data, trust, and security. In fact, several civil society groups, companies, and prominent individuals have recently called on the UNGA President to make digital trust and security a priority for his presidency.

2. Content regulation gains momentum in the USA and the EU

Content regulation and the liability of online intermediaries (such as digital platforms) are high on the EU and US agendas, as both are aiming to update 20-year-old legislation.

The EU is working on a Digital Services Act (DSA) intended to update the E-commerce Directive from 2000. The directive exempts online intermediaries from liability for the content they manage if they remove illegal content or disable access to it once they are aware of its illegal nature or if they take a neutral and merely technical stance towards the hosted content. 

On 8 September, the European Commission concluded a public consultation in which it asked for views on issues to be covered by the DSA, including with regard to the liability regime for intermediaries. One of the options outlined by the Commission is to clarify and upgrade the liability for online intermediaries and ‘remove disincentives for their voluntary actions to address illegal content’. The Commission is expected to put forward a DSA proposal by the end of 2020. 

A strong debate on content regulation is also taking place in the USA. Currently, Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act gives platforms protection from liability for content posted by third parties, while also allowing for removal of reasonably objectionable content. In May 2020, President Trump issued an executive order asking for a review of Section 230, so that immunity from liability does not protect digital platforms that ‘engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints’. The order triggered concerns that changes in the liability regime could seriously affect the way in which the tech industry and the Internet itself work.   

In September, the Department of Justice followed up on the order and unveiled proposed changes to Section 230, suggesting limitations on the ability of platforms to evaluate and remove objectionable content. As Section 230 is also subject to several legislative proposals in Congress, the debate is expected to last for a while, even after the US elections. 

The trend towards enhanced content regulation is also evident in other countries, such as in the UK,[link] Germany, FranceIndia, and Brazil. As legislators around the world continue these debates, they could benefit from coordinating their work, especially considering that the platforms they try to regulate operate internationally.

3. US-China digital tensions: TikTok and WeChat saga unfolds

In August, President Trump issued two executive orders against TikTok and WeChat, banning any transactions between the apps’ parent companies (ByteDance and Tencent, respectively) and anyone subject to US jurisdiction, starting 45 days after the date of the orders. Another order required ByteDance to sell its US assets within 90 days. 

On 18 September, the US Department of Commerce (DoC) announced prohibitions intended to eliminate access to TikTok and WeChat and significantly reduce their functionality. The apps were supposed to no longer be available via app stores starting 20 September (the deadline was subsequently extended for TikTok until 27 September). Also starting 20 September, a ban was to be in place preventing the provisions of Internet services enabling the functioning of WeChat; a similar ban was to apply to TikTok starting 12 November. In reaction, China accused the USA of bullying and noted that it will ‘take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies’. 

On 19 September, a judge in California temporarily blocked the WeChat ban, invoking freedom of speech concerns, as ‘there are no viable substitute platforms or apps for the Chinese-speaking and Chinese-American community.’ On 27 September, a judge in Washington DC blocked the part of the TikTok ban that was to become effective on 27 September, giving ByteDance more time to obtain approval for the sale of its US operations to Oracle and Walmart. 

Although initially favoured by President Trump, the ByteDance-Oracle-Walmart deal does not seem to be straightforward. The three parties announced an agreement to create a new US-based company – TikTok Global – to provide services to US users and run on Oracle’s cloud computing infrastructure (thus storing the data of US citizens in the USA). Oracle and Walmart would have a combined 20% stake in the company. But misunderstandings appeared: Bytedance said it would have an 80% stake in TikTok Global until the company is listed on an American exchange. Oracle, on the other hand, stated that '[...] the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global'. This determined President Trump to say that he would not approve the deal unless TikTok Global was ‘totally controlled by Oracle’. China’s approval of the deal may be problematic, too: an editorial in government-owned China Daily noted that China has no reason to give the green light to a deal ‘which is dirty and unfair and based on bullying and extortion’. 

While TikTok and WeChat continue to operate as before, it is uncertain how the situation will unfold both before and after 12 November. The saga – which represents a continuation of a digital cold war between China and the USA – involves many legal details, with both economic and geopolitical implications. What is also worth noting is that, as the USA is requesting the data of TikTok users to be stored locally, it shifts away from its long-standing position in favour of the free flow of data across borders.

TikTok-WeChat controversy

OBSERVATORY

Digital policy developments in September

The digital policy landscape is filled with new initiatives, evolving regulatory frameworks, and new legislation and court judgments. In the Digital Watch observatory – available at dig.watch – we decode, contextualise, and analyse ongoing developments, offering a digestible yet authoritative update on the complex world of digital policy. The monthly barometer tracks and compares the issues to reveal new trends and to allow them to be understood relative to those of previous months. The following is a summarised version; read more about each development by clicking the blue icons, or by visiting the Updates section on the observatory.

Global IG architecture


increasing relevance

The general debate of the UNGA’s 75th session saw mentions of digital policy issues.

Germany and the United Arab Emirates submitted to the UN Secretary-General an Options Paper for the Future of Global Digital Cooperation.

 

Sustainable development


increasing relevance

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimated that US$ 428 billion is needed to connect the remaining 3 billion people to the Internet by 2030. The UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development called on world leaders to prioritise universal connectivity for sustainable development. The ITU and the Enhanced Integrated Framework launched an initiative to reduce the digital gender divide.

The ITU and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched an ad hoc group on digital health technologies to combat COVID-19.

Egypt established a financial services and digital transformation investment fund.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, Switzerland, and the OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data launched the Humanitarian Data and Trust Initiative.

 

Security


same relevance

Multiple actors called on the UNGA President to prioritise digital trust and security.

Russia invited the USA to restore cooperation on international information security. China proposed a Global Initiative on Data Security.

The EU announced plans to establish its secure data cloud and e-identity system. The European Commission proposed interim regulation on the processing of personal and other data to combat child sexual abuse.

A patient died after being transported from a German hospital under cyber-attack.

 

E-commerce and Internet economy


increasing relevance

The European Commission will appeal the General Court’s judgment on the Apple state aid case. 

Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA launched a cooperation framework for competition authorities. The Australian competition authority started an inquiry into Apple and Google’s app stores. Facebook declared that it will stop news sharing if the Australian News Media Bargaining Code is adopted.

The UK and Japan agreed on a trade deal allowing the free flow of data.

Spain announced plans to tax instant messaging providers based on revenue.

Large EU countries called for strict regulations for cryptocurrencies.

Uber regained its licence to continue to operate in London.

 

Digital rights


increasing relevance

The Swiss Data Protection Authority announced that it no longer considers the Swiss-US Privacy Shield adequate.

Japan strengthened its data protection legislation.

The Council of Europe called for greater oversight of intelligence services and better protection of privacy rights. 

UNICEF issued draft guidance on artificial intelligence (AI) and children’s rights.

India’s digital health plan sparked privacy concerns.

Twitter expanded its policies against election-related misinformation. The European Commission released an assessment of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. Facebook removed networks based in China and the Philippines over co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour. China launched a new app to combat online misinformation.

 

Jurisdiction and legal issues


increasing relevance

Facebook launched legal action against a preliminary order of the Irish data protection authority that could stop the company’s transatlantic data transfers.

The US Department of Commerce banned WeChat and TikTok ‘transactions’, but US courts stopped the bans from taking effect.

Thailand filed legal action against Facebook and Twitter for not complying with takedown orders.

The US Department of Justice unveiled a legislative proposal to reform online platform immunity. The European Parliament's committees are in the process of voting on the DSA package.

A US court ruled that the National Security Agency’s metadata program collecting billions of phone records was illegal.

 

Infrastructure


same relevance

The USA placed restrictions on exports to China’s leading chipmaker SMIC.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that zero rating combined with measures to slow down or block traffic are not compatible with net neutrality regulations.

India’ telecom regulator released recommendations on a regulatory framework for over-the-top services.

 

New technologies (IoT, AI, etc.)


same relevance

Portland (USA) introduced restrictions of facial recognition technology (FRT). IBM asked the USA to limit FRT exports.

The European Parliament’s special committee on AI started work. The Council of Europe’s Committee on Ministers approved the first progress report of the Ad hoc Committee on AI.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issued new standards for smart cities.[link] The Australian Cyber Security Centre launched a guide for manufacturers of  Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The UK issued a National Data Strategy and launched a National Quantum Computing Centre.

IN FOCUS

Europe as a digital standard-setter: Seeking opportunity amidst crisis

The State of the Union speech is a landmark of the European political calendar, laying out the vision, plans, and key budgetary investments of the EU for the months to come. On 16 September, the president of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, delivered the speech in unusual conditions. 

While face masks and measures of social distancing kept parliamentarians physically apart in the plenary room, von der Leyen underscored the importance of investing in the values and policy areas that can hold Europe together and leverage economic recovery. Among them, special attention was paid to boosting the European digital economy. 

Von der Leyen referred to the forthcoming years as Europe’s ‘digital decade’, and committed to spending 20% of the bloc’s recovery fund on digital initiatives. These growing financial and political commitments reveal Europe’s ambitions to become a ‘global standard-setter’ in key digital areas.

Laying the foundations

Under the presidency of Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission had placed significant emphasis on the need to bring the Digital Single Market (DSM) to completion. This goal had triggered several policy initiatives, such as new rules on e-commerce, the free-flow of non-personal data, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and cybersecurity legislation. The ‘Shaping Europe’s digital future’ strategy, outlined in the beginning of 2020, embodies president von der Leyen’s vision on how to make Europe ‘fit for the digital age’.

Several points raised during the State of the Union speech echo priorities from the digital strategy, such as the focus on infrastructure – in particular on the deployment of 5G and 6G – and on the development of cutting-edge technologies. Particular emphasis was placed on AI and supercomputers – machines capable of performing intensive tasks in various fields, such as health-related simulations and climate research. Von der Leyen announced an investment of EUR 8 billion in the next generation of ‘made in Europe’ supercomputers, committing to search for leadership in the field.

EU regulation: a building under fast construction 

The right combination between investments in cutting-edge infrastructure and developing regulatory frameworks on the most pressing digital issues may not only help to consolidate the DSM within Europe but could also lay the foundations for European global leadership in the digital space. Two ambitious regulatory initiatives were announced for 2021. 

A law addressing the use of AI was promised, as the president stressed the need for more transparency in the operation of algorithms. EU’s policies in the field of AI aim not only to build European technological and economic capacity in this area, but also to embed ethical values in the development and deployment of AI. A landmark in this regard has been the publication of the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI, underscoring the importance of principles such as human agency and accountability. The European approach puts AI at the service of citizens and could serve as inspiration for human-centred development of the technology on a global scale. 

The second regulatory initiative mentioned by the president was focused on digital taxation. This has been one of the most thorny issues faced by both developed and developing countries alike. President von der Leyen committed to developing a European law on digital tax by early 2021 should no agreement be reached in the ongoing discussions on digital taxation at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The introduction of a digital tax at the European level would prevent unilateral measures from some EU members and could provide a blueprint for a path forward in case no common international solution is found. 

From private data to industrial data

Data is the primary asset of the digital economy. The 2020 EU data strategy aims to create a ‘single market for data’, which would ensure seamless data flows within the EU. The GDPR was a key milestone in the path to achieving this goal, as it harmonises the protection of personal data across jurisdictions. With the GDPR in full swing, the focus of the Commission seems to be shifting towards industrial data. 

According to von der Leyen, Europe has sufficient financial and industrial capacity to be a trendsetter in the field of industrial data, but 80% of this data is collected and never used by businesses. In order to help tackle this problem, the president promised to build a ‘European cloud’, giving new momentum to projects such as Gaia-X, a federated system of services with the participation of interconnection and cloud providers. The aim would be to create a trusted framework that would allow businesses to pool and use data to improve products and better compete internationally, ‘helping to secure value creation and employment in Europe’.

The missing points

While von der Leyen’s emphasis on the importance of industrial data was welcomed, the absence of any reference to the GDPR was noticed. But the narrative that Europe ‘lost out’ on making the most of personal data and must now avoid losing the race on industrial data seemed to overlook the fact that Europe has established itself as a global leader on data protection, following the approval of the GDPR. The president was also silent about the future of EU-US data transfers, following the invalidation of the Privacy Shield agreement by the CJEU in July. These two omissions led to criticism from practitioners working on data protection.

The speech also failed to mention one of the most important and controversial regulatory initiatives under discussion by the Commission, the DSA. This may replace or amend the e-Commerce Directive, which laid the foundations for the regulation of the Internet over two decades ago. The DSA touches upon key and contentious issues, such as the liability of Internet platforms for user content and the need to uphold competition within markets dominated by large tech companies, ensuring that innovators and market entrants are faced with a level playing field. The DSA has been criticised by some large players, such as Google, for representing a one-size-fits-all solution to a very diverse ecosystem. By underscoring the importance of the DSA, the president would have reiterated that Europe is ready to take the lead, even when topics are divisive and face the opposition of powerful players. 

The winds of change 

The State of the Union speech was also marked by the consolidation of shifts that have been ongoing over the last years. Digital policy is a field increasingly marked by interdependence due to its interplay with other policy areas. Von der Leyen identified a triad of policy areas that will underpin European policymaking for years to come: digital technology, health, and the environment. The EU digital strategy had already underscored the close link between the digital and green transformations, which should be understood as ‘twin challenges’. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, von der Leyen added health to this equation. 

The speech also presented the consolidation of another important shift: the growing prominence of ‘sovereignty’ in relation to digital issues. For many years, only a few countries, such as China and Russia, openly used this word when referring to the Internet or to cyber issues. Amidst disputes between the USA and China for technological supremacy, sovereignty has now been brought to the forefront of the political debate in Europe. ‘Technological sovereignty’ was mentioned in the EU digital strategy as a means to ‘create the right conditions for Europe to develop and deploy its own key capacities and reduce dependency on other parts of the globe for the most crucial technologies’. Von der Leyen referred to ‘digital sovereignty’ in her speech, while the 2020 European data strategy underscores the need to achieve data sovereignty. 

Europe fit for the digital age

The digital economy is expected to play a significant role in economic recovery. Europe’s track record of investments on infrastructure and regulation make it well-positioned to bounce back strengthened from the current health crisis. 

State of the Union - 2020

© European Union 2020 – Source: EP

In focus

UNGA 75 through the lens of digital policy issues

With the general debate of the UN General Assembly behind us, it is time to reflect on state priorities and how digital issues come into play. Whereas the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the UN was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s ongoing digital transformation was in full view.

An unusual general debate

Rather than gathering onsite, like every Tuesday in the third week of September, heads of states and governments, as well as ministers of foreign affairs, delivered pre-recorded statements from their respective capitals, where they addressed some of the most pressing global challenges. The general debate, labelled as possibly the world’s worst Zoom meeting, saw New York-based diplomats, wearing face masks, watching on from a (social) distance with very little room for actual debate.

UNGA word cloud

UNGA word cloud: The words that dominated the statements

Interplay between COVID-19 and digital

Regarded as one of the major catalysts for digital transformation in 2020, the COVID-19 crisis was often mentioned in the same context as digital policy issues. National delegations argued that the pandemic accelerated the use of and access to information communication technologies (ICTs), in particular for younger generations and financially vulnerable communities.

Others, on the other hand, pointed to the emergence of negative trends associated with digital technology, such as the spread of fake news and misinformation, dubbed as an ‘insidious but less obvious pandemic’, as well as propaganda and online hate speech.

Non-traditional security threats becoming more apparent

Besides traditional security issues, state representatives also touched on the security challenges of the 21st century. Croatia and the Czech Republic referred to the increase in cyber-attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially against critical infrastructures such as healthcare institutions, and the worrying practice of cyberwarfare. 

The need to ensure a trusted, open, and inclusive cyberspace underpinned by international law and norms of responsible state behaviour was underscored by Singapore and Slovenia. Similar arguments were brought forward by Australia and Iceland. 

Staying within the realm of security, it is important to mention that three delegations, namely Austria, Bulgaria, and the Holy See, touched on lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) – sometimes referred to as killer robots – highlighting the ethical concerns related to allowing machines to decide who lives and who dies. 

Digital divide exacerbated by the pandemic

Despite the fact that the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation places digitalisation at the core of sustainable development, it is worth noting that only five countries (Ghana, Montenegro, Rwanda, Singapore, and Turkey) made mention of the document in question. 

That said, development, or rather the lack thereof, was addressed by 23% of the statements. Noting that the digital divide has been further aggravated by the transition to online education and teleworking, developing countries, such as The Gambia, Tonga, and Nepal, see ending the digital gap as one of the most urgent priorities. In addition to creating equal opportunities to realise a ‘fair share of benefits of e-commerce and technology dividend’, member states also need to develop strategies to reskill and upskill their population for the future of work.

Digitalisation of public services

It is worth noting that, for many countries, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation of the public sector. To this end, some delegations, including Estonia and Slovenia, noted that digital technologies and platforms have enabled the continuation of public services and payments and business activity. Others referred to the importance of secure digital identity in ensuring equal access to digital public services. Along these lines, Latvia shared its success story of creating the world’s first fully functional e-parliament. 

While this may only scratch the surface, rapid advances in digital technology will most likely require greater deliberation at the UN.

Data analysis: the most frequent digital issues

Diplo’s Data and AI Lab conducted a data analysis of all statements made during the general debate in order to identify the most frequently mentioned digital policy issues (based on the taxonomy of issues and baskets used by the Digital Watch observatory). 

It is noteworthy that the most mentions of digital issues were made by European states (51), followed by South America (25) and Asia (22). 

Issues belonging to the development basket were the most prominent: they were mentioned by 38 states from almost all regions (with the exception of Oceania and North America). The most common issues addressed by national delegations within this basket include the digital divide, access to ICTs, the environment, and capacity development. Cybersecurity comes in second place with a total of 25 states addressing issues such as cybercrime, cyberwarfare, and child safety online. 

The infrastructure basket, with 21 appearances, was mostly referred to by European delegations. These mentions largely centred around AI and other advanced technologies, such as robots, 5G, and nanotechnology. 

Despite the fact that privacy concerns and freedom of expression were mentioned in the traditional context of the COVID-19 crisis, from the digital perspective, the human rights basket was the least popular with a total of seven mentions.

UNGA 75: Digital policy mentions by region and categories (baskets)

GENEVA

Policy discussions in Geneva

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed several discussions, negotiations, and processes online; in other cases, meetings have been postponed. Geneva-based organisations have adjusted quickly to the new online reality. The global focus on health and humanitarian issues has increased the relevance of Geneva dynamics for global governance. The following updates cover the main discussions of the past month. For event reports, visit the Past Events section on the Digital Watch observatory.

A Digital Launch of the Data Protection Handbook (2nd ed.) | 1 September 2020

The International Committee of the Red Cross launched the second edition of its Handbook on Data Protection in Humanitarian Action in the framework of an online event dedicated to discussing issues related to data protection in the digital age. Topics addressed included digital identity and biometrics, COVID-19 and contact tracing apps, and data protection concerns in relation to AI and blockchain. The event also marked the launch of the Humanitarian Data and Trust Initiative for promoting the protection and responsible use of humanitarian data.

Right On Web Chat | 9 and 30 September 2020

The Right On initiative reconvened its series of web chats with a discussion on ‘Communicating human rights: How to win the global battle of ideas’, on 9 September. The event looked at how outrage moves people, human rights responses to populism, the EU’s efforts on communicating human rights, and adjusting to new circumstances. On 30 September, another web chat highlighted practical experiences and efforts to place human rights standards and the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) at the core of immediate responses to COVID-19 and of long-term recovery strategies. Watch the recordings and read the summary of the events.

Human Rights Council – 45th Regular Session | 14 Sept–7 Oct 2020

This session has featured discussions on a wide range of issues, from rights to development and education, to the rights of indigenous people and migrants. The Council considered the Report on the right to development issued by the Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR), which, among other topics, outlined activities undertaken by the Office of the HCHR to promote the right to development in and through the digital age. Also presented was a report of the Independent Expert of the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, which examines the important role of data for the realisation of the human rights of older persons.

Roundtable on the Future of Internet Governance in Geneva | 16 September 2020 

Organised by the Fondation pour Genève and the Graduate Institute's Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, the event discussed the launch of Prof. Michael Kende’s report Internet Governance in International Geneva, which analyses the important role played by the Geneva ecosystem in Internet governance discussions. Participants noted that Geneva has hosted numerous initiatives addressing Internet policy issues. These are becoming more and more relevant for the work of different Geneva-based organisations, thus making Geneva a de-facto hub for Internet governance. 

2020 Cyber Stability Conference | 28 September 2020

Organised by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)’ and held both in situ and online, the conference focused on the future of institutional dialogues relevant to ICTs and international security. Participants discussed linkages between institutional dialogue relevant to ICTs and international security and other core pillars of the UN work, and explored lessons that can be learnt from regional and sub-regional dialogues on norms and capacity-building measures in cyberspace.

UPCOMING

Upcoming events: Are you tuned in?

Learn more about the upcoming digital policy events around the world, and use DeadlineR to remind you about important dates and deadlines.

DIGITAL TOOLS

New tools for policy practitioners

To mark the start of a new diplomatic year, the GIP and DiploFoundation are launching a series of new tools and initiatives for diplomats, policymakers, and practitioners active in digital policy. 

The new Digital Watch observatory

Built on a smart mix of expert and AI-powered analysis, the new Digital Watch observatory will help policy practitioners understand issues in an interdisciplinary way. For instance, it looks at AI and data policy through the lens of human rights, security, and trade. In addition to a broader coverage of all things relating to digital governance, the observatory also includes a more robust engine and a fresher, more intuitive look. 

ConfTech’s Library on the Future of Meetings

The transition from face-to-face to online and hybrid meetings has raised many questions: How to moderate effectively online? What are the rules of conduct for online meetings? Which platforms to use? The Future of Meetings e-library can help organisations deal with such questions through a series of articles, how-to guides, and videos to make the transition to online and hybrid meetings as smart as possible. 

The humAInism Speech Generator

Powered by AI, the tool helps practitioners draft cybersecurity speeches. It is based on Diplo's analysis of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) and the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), and its AI research as part of the humAInism project. The tool provides users with a comparison of the official positions of major actors. It also generates answers to cybersecurity-related questions posed by the user. Check it out.

Help Desk for Inclusive Online Meetings

The Help Desk provides countries and organisations with immediate advice on how to organise and run effective and efficient online meetings and events. Its goal is to provide real-time assistance based on the specific needs and roles of the organisers of an online meeting.  

The Digital Watch weekly digest

The digital policy field is complex and intense with fast developments. What better way to keep track than to read bite-sized updates each week? The Digital Watch will be providing weekly e-mail digests on developments that are making the headlines, and discussing their impact on global policy. The digests also include weekend reads, Editor’s Picks, and other relevant content. 

New initiatives to be launched in October 

5 Oct | Start of contemporary diplomacy courses

5 Oct | Start of  10-week Cybersecurity course

8 Oct | Tech Meets: informal get-togethers (in Geneva)

12 Oct | Diplo’s new Data Engine

15 Oct | Start of Online Meetings and Conferences course

19 Oct | The Digital Watch AI-powered media barometer

22 Oct | Study: Diplomacy in the age of COVID-19

26 Oct | The new Geneva Digital Atlas

29 Oct | The ConfTech Lab in Geneva