SDG 16 — Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

(1) Freedom of speech, press, information and communication are essential values for democratic society and need to be applied and protected offline as well as online.

(2) Hate speech poses grave dangers for our democracies, the protection of human rights and the rule of law. It covers many forms of expressions which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred, violence and discrimination against a person or group of persons for a variety of reasons. Proper contact points within governmental institutions need to be in place to support victims of hate speech. Hate speech has to be a matter of public prosecution, including proper investigations, and structural, financial as well as legal support for victims. Furthermore, we call for a stronger culture of digital courage actively countering hate speech and voicing solidarity with victims.

(3) Removal of hate speech and violation of terms of use in social media is currently overwhelmingly being handled by people in the Global South. Often this means having to review graphic and violent content for hours. There needs to be proper protection and support of content removers, including a global discussion on how to not leave them behind in a digital world.

(4) The right to privacy has to be ensured. Data encryption as a mean of self-protection is a fundamental right and must not be restricted. This includes the right not to supply any authority with passwords or encryption keys. Anonymity is an important right in the real as well as digital world.

(5) Any data that is not objectively needed must not be collected by the state or companies. Any incidental data has to be deleted immediately if no reason for storage can be named. The dissemination of illegally or wrongly obtained data as well as data abuse has to lead to appropriate penalties. Data protection laws have to include the fact that legal access to data does not allow for junction of data. A violation of e.g. the EU GDPR by security agencies has to be transparently and publicly accounted for. Anonymous mobile communication has to be protected legally and technically. The right to be forgotten has to be implemented. This has to apply to all people independent of their citizenship.

(6) Surveillance by the government has to be punished by law. The global trade with surveillance technology has to happen in compliance with the rule of law and be properly controlled by an independent international agency.

(7) Whistleblowers have to be protected. No one brave enough to publicly show hidden grievances should be discriminated.

(8) The use of autonomous technology for warfare has to be banned. The dehumanization of war victims by remote killing is leading to a further escalation of violence and a climate of fear in many regions and countries. The militarization of civic IT-technology and technology development by the military must not be financed by public money. Any government should rather internationally engage for peace and ban drones, KI and other digital technology in warfare.

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