Charting the way forward through international dialogue

By the conclusion of our inaugural phase, running approximately two years, our objective is to launch a formal multi-stakeholder initiative, directed toward the potential framing of a Digital Bill of Rights. Ideally, this effort will culminate in a formal call along the lines of the Paris Call for Peace and Security in Cyberspace or the Christchurch Call to eliminate violent extremist content.

To that end, our initial efforts include:

Identifying international stakeholders representing experts drawn from academia, policy think tanks, advocacy groups, and organizations across civil society, as well as active policymakers, former government officials, and business leaders, emphasizing representation from across the Global South.

Determining the composition of the working groups and defining the process. These activities will include mutual agreement on the principles, issue areas, and objectives for each working group. Serving as a secretariat for these groups, Initiate: Digital Rights in Society will promote balanced representation of civil society, policy, and business stakeholders and facilitate informed and inclusive discussion that results in publicly accessible outputs.

Driving sustained activity thereafter, stimulating regular peer dialogue, enabling the creation of independent capacities for auditing the societal impact of algorithms in government, business, and academia, and the dissemination of original scholarly research, ideally informing future policy making at the international levels.

Building a global platform for stakeholders, including drafting partnership agreements, the joint authorship of a pledge to pursue the eventual codification of an international Digital Bill of Rights, and the organization of an Advisory Committee to provide guidance and oversight over the process.

Setting the agenda for a series of international conferences, mapping the major issues in algorithmic governance, identifying policy and advocacy areas especially relevant for the Global South, and organizing productive working groups that can hold business and political interests accountable on these issues.


 July-October 2020

Founding Team & Organization Building

 11 November 2020

Organizational Launch at the Paris Peace Forum

 13 November 2020

Launch Event at PPF: “Towards a Digital Bill of Rights,” (Questions to address: Considering the pandemic and its economic impacts, what societal risks does algorithmic governance pose? How do these vary between communities, particularly across the Global South? South and North, how can civil society drive the digital rights dialogue? How can it be equitable and effective, holding business and government accountable? Which regulatory systems and policies work? Looking ahead, what’s most essential? Can we reconcile individual and collective rights? What would constitute an effective international Digital Bill of Rights? Panelists include: Latha Reddy, Craig Newmark, Martin Tisné, Nanjira Sambuli, and Latanya Sweeney)

 November-December 2020

Assembly of four Working Groups, each with 10-12 members, including representatives of government, civil society, business, and academia from both the Global South & North to initiate dialogue on topics in algorithmic governance; High profile publication by Digital Rights in Society Initiative, publicly announcing the process and plans for 2021. Continued network building with like-minded civil society organizations, technologists, academics, and policymakers across the Global South.

 January-February 2021

First meetings of the Working Groups with Digital Rights in Society Initiative serving as the secretariat. Defining topics, scope, output, and meeting schedule for 2021 in consultation with each group. Continued network building with like- minded civil society organizations, technologists, academics, and policymakers across the Global South.

 March-June 2021

Continued Expert Consultations and monthly Working Group meetings to survey the policy landscape and develop group analyses and statements in support of a digital rights framework.

 June-August 2021

Public health situation permitting, in-person assemblies for each working group in different locations around the world. Digital Rights in Society serving as Secretariat.

 August-October 2021

Final working group consultations and completion of four reports, outlining prospects for influence upon soft law internationally. Digital Rights in Society coordinating edits, revisions, and publication. Launch of public discussion on recommendations and reports.

 November-December 2021

Publication, press, and public discussion for each report and issuance of launch of formal call for a Global Digital Rights Convention. Start of process of delivering reports and all documentation of activities to relevant governments and international organizations. Mapping of Digital Rights agenda for 2022 in consultation with the Advisory Council.

Get Involved

Thank you for taking the time to connect with Initiate: Digital Rights in Society. Your perspective and ideas are important to our shared work. We are eager to collaborate with experts and organizations from around the world interested in participating in our working groups and other activities. Please let us know how you would like to be involved and our team will respond as soon as possible.