A Call to Defend Fundamental Rights in the Digital Age

The rapid digitization in all areas of life presents a challenge to civil rights and freedoms. These need defending. In response to an invitation by ZEIT-Stiftung, a group of citizens (among them Heinz Bude, Juli Zeh, Johnny Haeusler, Jeanette Hofmann, Bernhard Pörksen, Frank Rieger, Sascha Lobo and Rebecca Casati) has produced a draft "Charter of Digital Fundamental Rights of the European Union".

The draft charter aims to propose solutions to the problems of defending the freedom of the individual in the digital age – against possible encroachments by states and multinational companies. The 23 articles of the charter contain suggestions and ideas concerning the autonomy and freedom of the individual, the development and use of artificial intelligence, informational self determination and data security, and other highly relevant aspects such as dealing with defamation and incitement to hatred on social media, among other issues. Since its publication in December 2016, the text (which can be accessed at www.digitalcharta.eu) has been widely debated: dozens of blog entries, comments, articles in online media, thousands of tweets and more than 400 comments on our website bear witness. The proposal has elicited much support but also criticism both of the draft text and of its aims. Notwithstanding, there is much consensus on the fundamental issue: basic rights need defending in the digital age.

How these aims can be achieved, the ways in which a charter may be useful, and how it should be worded – these are the questions we would like to debate with the audience at re:publica 2017. Together we plan to work on an improved version of the text. You are invited to post your ideas und comments on the draft charter at www.digitalcharta.eu ahead of the event.

On 9 May, from 10.30 a.m. to 4 p.m., we will be holding the #DigitalCharta:Con as part of #rp17. There will be two large panel discussions and two workshops – with Sascha Lobo, Jeanette Hofmann, Johnny Haeusler, Malte Spitz, Jan Philipp Albrecht, Christoph Kucklick, and others. For a detailed programme and itinerary please go to: https://digitalcharta.eu/republica2017/

Date: Tuesday, 9 May 2017, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

#DigitalCharta:Con is an event by ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.
image credit: ZEIT-Stiftung

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