(1) Higher taxes on parcels and packages along with decent wages for delivery staff, and the introduction of reusable packaging need to be linked to the discussion of digitalization in order to counter the socially and environmentally problematic increase of online shopping.
(2) Means of transportation have to be connected in a feasible way. Individual traffic should be reduced to a minimum. In order to truly have a positive impact on climate change mitigation, any electricity for e-mobility has to come from renewable, decentralized sources. Due to its high material and energy costs and usage, self-driving cars can – if at all – only constitute one element in any modern traffic system. The reduction of any kind of cars or trucks should be the main political goal in the face of the climate and air pollution crisis.
(3) Smart city – [add]
(1) Fundamental human rights cannot be limited by terms and conditions of business. Digital corporations rather have a responsibility to uphold human rights. This should be an integral part of business practices as well as national, EU and international regulation. Similar to the corporate accountability index, IT companies should have to ensure that their technologies, algorithms and software do not transgress human rights. The supervision of these processes needs to be independent, transparent and publicly accessible. Law makers are obliged to ensure protection of its citizens, including the implementation of legally binding instruments on corporations with respect to human rights according the UN process towards a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights as well as pursuing and implementing transparency initiatives along the value chain such as the Kimberly Process, Conflict Mineral Laws or the UK Modern Slavery Act.
(2) The principles of privacy by design and privacy by default have to be applied e.g. according to the EU GDPR. The EU e-privacy directive needs to be adopted as soon as possible, including a regulation on the use of search engine data and communication software. Tracking has to be limited. Data processors have to ensure all regulations of data protection are applied during the whole process of data handling. Within the EU, customers have the right to have their data deleted by the data processors without undue delay. A violation of data protection law or against fundamental rights has to be prosecuted. This includes rigorous and consequent follow-up on nuisances and scandals even if commercial interest might be impaired.
(3) Warranties need to become much more consumer-friendly. Transparency of a product’s durability has to increase through a mandatory identification of its life span by the producer. This includes a labeling system that transparently and comprehensibly informs customers of maximum service life (e.g. of expandable parts), of durability, reparability and modularity of a product. Consumer protection laws should introduce “willful deception” as an element of offense for any case of planned obsolescence. Ten or more years minimum durability for expandable parts of consumer goods would involve hardly any additional costs for producers but could increase a product’s durability tremendously. An appropriate EU regulation has to be implemented immediately.
(4) The fundamental right to property should include the right to repair. All producers and retailers should make expandable parts accessible to all market actors during the service life of a product. The price of expandable parts needs to be reasonable and justifiable in relation to production costs. A legal claim for accessible expandable parts has to be ensured. Any data or documentation relevant for repairs as well as specific tools have to be supplied to repair facilities at low to no costs. Information concerning repair-friendliness of a product has to be easy to spot for customers. Existing eco-labels should include durability and reparability.
(5) Public financing of the development of algorithm-based technology, including AI, has to be subordinated to the public interest. Only open source software AI projects should be publicly funded.
(1) Environmental protection and human rights are more important than digitalization. Digitalization cannot be a justification for further exploitation of planet, nature and people. As most minerals and resources needed for digital technologies are still mined under terrible violations of human rights and environmentally disastrous conditions, all states and industries involved in mining and processing raw materials need to take responsibility in protecting human rights and the environment along the supply chain with proper due diligence. The purchase of raw materials cannot be primarily dominated by cheapest prices. This needs to be reflected in foreign trade and economic policies as well.
(2) Resource consumption, especially in countries of the Global North, has to be reduced to a globally just and sustainable level. Changing economic priorities towards a circular economy, ambitious recycling goals, and a product design based on reusage, repairability, durability and recycling, can significantly decrease resource needs for digitalization. Resource intensive products with no apparent benefit to society, such as RFID tags, should be banned.
(3) The advertisement of new products should have to include references on the resource and energy consumption in its production process.
(4) Any political and economic processes looking for new mineral resources within the deep sea have to stop. The mandate of any member state of the International Seabed Authority should rather be used to stand against exploitation of the deep sea. No scientific projects for the research of deep sea mining in the High Sea or the Exclusive Economic Zones of any state should be financed by public money. Civil society in the Pacific has to be supported, as they are standing at the forefront of this dangerous new destruction of the planet for ever more resources.
(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) 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.
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
(5) Any check on the culpability or illegality of content, e.g. in social media, has to follow a strict inspection of its context and intention. This task has to be undertaken by courts. Freedom of speech and freedom of information of individuals as well as the general public has to be protected even in the face of persecution of illegal or criminal content.
(6) Whistleblowers have to be protected. No one brave enough to publicly show hidden grievances should be discriminated.
(7) 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.
(1) Technology transfer, fair trade policies, development of local and regional markets and exchange of knowledge and funds are the basis for a sustainable economy for all people. E-Commerce can be a tool for development if it enables fair and equal access to economic development and participation. The development of local and regional alternatives of IT-products independent of the world market has to be made possible for developing countries. Similarly to other products, e-commerce has to ensure that developing countries can participate in the world market if the people living in those countries want to. It should however not undermine other offline markets relevant for people’s survival and well-being. There needs to be a space for offline economic activities as well.
(2) The goal of a common European digital strategy should not primarily be the creation of a common digital or e-commerce market or a European Silicon Valley with its own IT companies. Regulations should rather focus on the protection of European citizens and consumers as well as the actual adherence of laws, including competition and antitrust laws. A European IT market can only develop with fair market conditions benefitting citizens and economies. The use of the internet as a common good has to be supported, including open source software and publicly available data.
(3) Digital services should be settled outside of trade agreements. If they are already included in trade agreements, transboundary flow of data, data localization, protection of personal data and privacy, transfer of and access to open source code, accountability, regulatory cooperation, net neutrality among other things have to be regulated.