In November, the United Nations Global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) comes to Germany for the first time. To increase youth participation in preparation for the global IGF this year’s Youth Internet Governance Forum Germany took place at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy in Berlin on September 10, 2019.
Around 30 young people under 30 who are committed to Internet Governance and net politics came together for the German Youth IGF at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy to develop concrete demands on topics such as digital education, sustainability of digitization, or open data. The participants discussed with Internet governance experts and contributed their expertise from various disciplines.
Dr. Johanna Börsch-Supan, Head of Strategy and Programme at the Vodafone Foundation Germany, on the motivation to support the Youth IGF stated that “Young people should always be consulted for future topics. The Internet is an area that young people play a decisive role in shaping; they are also the largest demographic group of Internet users in relative terms. Nevertheless, the voices of young people are not heard at many levels. This is why we support projects such as the Youth IGF, which aim at effective participation and visibility of young people”.
After the discussion rounds, the participants were able to define groups of topics that they consider to be particularly important. In intensive hours of negotiation and formulation, a total of nine demands were developed:
- The Internet should promote diversity and protect fundamental rights. Therefore, Non-discrimination is a standard the government and private actors must to commit to.
- The energy and resource consumption of digitization is a problem not just for the climate but also for the environment. Because of the prevailing climate crisis, an emission-neutral Internet must be the goal of political and entrepreneurial decisions.
- Being sophisticated in virgin territories #Neuland
Nowadays children and teenagers today are not sufficiently educated on how to use the internet responsibly. We need more digital education classes in schools about data protection, privacy,”fake news,“ and other risks within the Internet.
- Reading and writing is a matter of course in school – but not the ABC of data protection. We demand:
A. Transparent and lawful data processing by companies
B. No enforced consent
C. #DataLiteracy for Young and Old
- From public money results public good. Therefore, we call for governments, administrations, and the entire public sector exclusively using and subsidising open software and publicize all data as open data.
- All federal and primarily social services have to be strictly accessible at low thresholds. This requires an expansion of digital administration while maintaining existing points of contact and communication channels.
- From freedom to security, all aspects of fundamental rights must be protected on the platforms and in all dimensions of digitization. The sovereignty of interpretation mustn’t be the corporations responsibility.
- Opinion formation within filter bubbles solely does not facilitate democracy. The Youth is increasingly exposed to extreme political positions/opinions. Therefore we call for a change towards a respectful and democratic debating culture.
- We are concerned about targeted disinformation and the circulation of “fake news,“ which impacts especially young peoples opinion formation. We call on the government to take further initiative to face this problem
The results of the Youth IGF will go directly to the global Youth Internet Governance Forum, which will culminate on 24 November with participants from all over the world. There is more information on www.yigf.de
A Ghanaian media practitioner, digital marketer, and influencer marketing specialist with a major focus on tourism, emerging technologies, and e-commerce.