25 Juin 2019

IFLA at EuroDIG 2019

The 2019 edition of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) took place in The Hague from 19-21 June.

This year, IFLA was involved in organising a panel on the European Copyright Reform (a video recording of the session will be published on the EuroDIG2019 wiki), and attended sessions on a broad range of subjects in order to take stock of the latest developments in the field of internet policies. Below are the key takeaways for the library field:

Artificial Intelligence will play an increasingly large role in internet governance. AI will take on a growing number of tasks - from network operation, to routers using AI technology, to the filtering of online content. This will have an effect on libraries as physical points of access to the internet, as well as on broader matters of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and access to information.

Digital literacy needs are evolving: new skills are needed in order to avoid online harms, participate in public debate  on the regulation of new technologies, find work or understand where automated decision-making is being used, and its impact.

In several discussions, media literacy, news literacy, data literacy and algorithmic literacy were suggested as necessary complements to basic digital literacy.

As new and interactive methods of teaching these skills are developed (for instance, the "Unbias Fairness Toolkit"), libraries can combine them with their traditional expertise on assessing the quality of data and information to offer comprehensive and sophisticated literacy programmes.

The Digital Divide remains: Even though the conversation on access to information has largely shifted towards advanced literacy and media content, several stakeholders pointed out the slow progress in reducing inequalities in physical internet access.

As long as these remain, the role of libraries as public and affordable points of access is important.

The shape of internet governance is rapidly changing. The current non-binding multistakeholder model of internet governance, which leaves a lot of space for self-regulation is being challenged. Governments seem to want to play a growing role, which may mean more binding rules.

As the situation develops, IFLA will support its members to participate in these discussions at the national level in order to express the needs, values and possible contributions of libraries.

For more information on recent and upcoming events in the field of internet governance, please visit the Internet Governance Forum website.

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Digital divide, Freedom of information, Information society, Netherlands, Conference, Data Literacy, Internet governance

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