Platform and data neutrality – access to content – WS 01 2018
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Working title: Platform and data neutrality – access to content
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Net neutrality is not the only challenge - it is being overshadowed by/coupled with challenges of platform/data neutrality, ie discriminatory behaviour of dominant content platforms. The effects on access, education, literacy and freedoms can be huge, yet discussion often don't go beyond net neutrality related to ISP. Europe has position and responsibility to start open discussions.
neutrality, platform, dominant
Net neutrality is not the only challenge – it is being coupled with challenges of platform/data neutrality, ie discriminatory behaviour of dominant content platforms. The effects on access, education, literacy, and freedoms can be huge, yet discussion often do not go beyond net neutrality related to Internet service providers (ISPs). Europe has position and responsibility to start open discussions
In the recent years, due to a boom in various online services, there is an increasing dependence of users and the society on platforms, and the discussions on neutrality have extended to the application layer as well.
Biases introduced to platforms and services – for technical, economic or political reasons – can lead to discrimination that has vast impact on end user experience, economy, access to information, human rights, etc. For instance, the decision of Facebook to introduce News Feed had impact on visibility and economy of small independent media in the test regions. A change in how YouTube suggests videos could impact the recruitment of terrorists, but could theoretically have – or be used for – a different impact as well. Removal of content from Google Search results can help applying the right to be forgotten, but if the algorithm is changed without utmost care, it could also have impact on access to information, and human rights in general.
This impact is even more critical with the growing dominance of several key Internet giants that are establishing own “walled gardens” – devices, operating systems, applications and services (and, increasingly, even connectivity services) – and have access to vast pools of user data and resources to develop advanced applications like artificial intelligence based on this.
The session aims to initiate discussions about platform neutrality, map the concerns of communities, and listen to arguments of why or why not such practices represent a challenge. The session will be highly interactive, without speakers, to allow brainstorming and various voices to be heard.
The session will be organised in an unconference format, with elements of world café. It will start with allowing participants to openly share concerns they might have, in order to accumulate issues to discuss. This will serve as agenda setting for the rest of the session.
The raised issues will then be clustered into several thematic groups, and a breakout into several smaller discussion groups will be made. Time-permitting, the groups will rotate through topics in a World Café manner. A short final plenary gathering will allow main conclusions – or rather questions opened – to be shared with everyone. A suggestion on whether discussion should be continued at next EuroDIG meetings will be made.
Session will have no panelists. Instead, it will have several strong moderators of the plenary and breakout work. All participants will be required to take active participation.
The term “platform neutrality” has been coined and discussed in number of materials, to mark that:
- Online platforms should not discriminate in favour of their own services; (link)
- That platforms have a vital role to play in ensuring that the net neutrality principle is effectively upheld – i.e., that “growth [of platforms] must not be allowed to hamper the use of Internet as a forum for creation, free expression and the exchange of ideas” (link)
- Large platforms may be closed, partial, and self-serving, effectively marginalising or blocking connections between audiences and speakers (link)
- Platforms should not be able to discriminate amongst those who depend on the platform or otherwise use it to promote their own services over those of third parties; in addition, there are concerns that, “as they mature, the platforms ‘lock in’ users, both as a result of conventional network effects and because they can accumulate and exploit vast amounts of personal data, with or without the knowledge of those who provide it” (link)
- The concerns related to concepts such as hate speech, fake news, safe spaces, brand safety, content take down, the right to be forgotten, and market power; “digital neutrality policy is a set of rules, realized through restrictions on software systems, to force companies to behave in a way that achieves policy advocates’ preferred outcomes” (link)
- Governments should regulate both content and networks to ensure “neutrality”, like open access information commons” (link)
Please provide name and institution for all people you list here.
- Focal Point
Vladimir Radunovic, DiploFoundation
- Organising Team (Org Team)
List them here as they sign up. The Org Team is a group of people shaping the session. Org Teams are open and every interested individual can become a member by subscribing to the mailing list.
- Key Participants
Vladimir Radunovic, DiploFoundation
- Remote Moderator
The Remote Moderator is in charge of facilitating participation via digital channels such as WebEx and social medial (Twitter, facebook). Remote Moderators monitor and moderate the social media channels and the participants via WebEX and forward questions to the session moderator. Please contact the EuroDIG secretariat if you need help to find a Remote Moderator.
Reporters will be assigned by the EuroDIG secretariat in cooperation with the Geneva Internet Platform. The Reporter takes notes during the session and formulates 3 (max. 5) bullet points at the end of each session that:
- are summarised on a slide and presented to the audience at the end of each session
- relate to the particular session and to European Internet governance policy
- are forward looking and propose goals and activities that can be initiated after EuroDIG (recommendations)
- are in (rough) consensus with the audience
Current discussion, conference calls, schedules and minutes
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- dates for virtual meetings or coordination calls
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A short summary of the session will be provided by the Reporter.
Will be provided here after the event.
Will be provided here after the event.