Joint call to G20 Leaders

G20 protests in London, 2009. Image: Kashfi Halford

Digital Rights Watch has joined over 100 organisations in appealing to G20 leaders to bring human rights to the centre of our digital future, by committing to meaningful access, privacy and data protection, freedom of expression, cybersecurity, and increased competition.

G20 countries have both the opportunity and the responsibility to lead efforts to reinstate trust in the digital age. G20 members can inspire hope and embrace the goal that no country, no community, and no individual will be left behind and that their rights will be respected. G20 countries can set a digital agenda that places people at the centre.

The Internet is estimated to contribute nearly $7 trillion USD every year to the G20 economies. By 2020, it is estimated that more than 1 billion users will be added in the G20 countries alone and there will be an estimated 30-50 billion additional connected devices across the world.

Today, G20 economies are digital, interconnected, and interdependent, however, coordinated policy commitments have not kept the pace with this reality.

For the digital society to be open, safe, and empowering for everyone, policies for the digital age must be trusted and trustworthy – putting the interests of people and their rights first. Governments should intensify efforts to assure that the Internet is not fragmented and that people and their rights are at its centre.  

As the G20 Host, Argentine President Mauricio Macri has promised to “address the global challenges of the 21st century …(and) to put the needs of people first.” We urge all G20 countries to work collaboratively with leaders from all stakeholder groups to adopt commitments that live up to not just the promise, but also their responsibility to ensure the evolving digital society supports a healthy web ecosystem and puts people first, including:

  • Meaningful access: We urge G20 members to invest significantly in expanding affordable Internet access for everyone -including through community networks- to boost economies and digital literacy programmes, thus empowering all individuals to reap the benefits of the digital age.
  • Privacy and data protection rights: We urge the G20 members to adopt, apply and enforce a comprehensive approach to privacy that protects all users’ privacy and personal data, whether citizens or not. People must be given more control and agency over their data.
  • Freedom of expression: We urge G20 members to promote freedom of expression online by adopting positions and policies that are consistent with maintaining an open internet for everyone.
  • Cybersecurity: We urge the G20 members to develop cybersecurity approaches in close collaboration with all stakeholders that protect human rights and values, and preserve the Internet as a global public resource. Promoting strong encryption is essential to both these aims.
  • Increased competition: We urge G20 members to ensure that competition in the digital economy is sustainable, that the market encourages new entrants and the interoperability of new services, and that consumers are protected from unfair practices.

Citizens and consumers have a right to be placed at the centre of decisions around the digital society.