News: 2020

    OECD Meetings: CSISAC to attend the 81st session of the Committee on the Digital Economy (CDEP)

    April 12, 2020

    The 81st session of the OECD Committee on the Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) will take place on 23 April 2020 in the OECD headquarters in Paris (France). None of the Working Parties will meet, except the Working Party on Data Governance and Privacy (DGP) to meet 21-22 April.

    Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the meetings will take place with a reduced number of agenda items to focus on the OECD legal instruments (review of the Privacy Guidelines implementation, typology of risks for children online and a proposed recommendation ond data sharing) and the work on comparability of personal data breach notification. All remaining projects have been set to progress through written consultation, including work on country reports (Brazil and Latvia), Terrorist and Violent Extremism Content (TVEC) Reporting, Blockchain and the Digital Economy Outlook 2020, among others.

    In addition to this regular meetings, the CDEP will organize two additional events: a workshop on Privacy and COVID-19 supported by the Global Privacy Assembly (15 April), and an expert consultation on data portability (17 April).

    Civil Society participants are invited to engage in the ongoing work joining the CSISAC.

    The CSISAC to take part in OECD Workshop on Data Portability

    April 10, 2020

    The CSISAC has been invited to take part in an Online Expert Discussion on Data Portability, to be held Friday, 17 April 2020. The purpose of this discussion is to guide the OECD in the ongoin work on data portability and prepare an Expert Workshop to be held in the second half of this year. EPIC Executive Director and CSISAC Steering Committee member Marc Rotenberg will take part in behalf of the CSISAC. Members of the CSISAC interested in taking part are invited to share an expression of interest to facilitate registration coordination.

    The CSISAC invited to OECD-GPA Workshop on Privacy and COVID-19

    April 11, 2020

    The OECD has invited the CSISAC to take part in an online workshop on "Addressing the Data Governance and Privacy Challenges in the Fight against COVID-19", supported by the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA). The CSISAC has suggested the OECD to include the concerns raised in the NGO and Expert Statement to the OECD Secretary General on COVID-19, Privacy, and Fundamental Rights. CSISAC Steering Committee member and EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg will take part as a speaker on behalf of the CSISAC. Members of the CSISAC working on privacy are invited to express interest to register for the workshop.

    Kasparov, Experts, NGOs Urge OECD to Back Democratic Values

    April 6, 2020

    Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov has joined the Public Voice Statement on COVID-19 and Fundamental Rights statement to OECD Secretary General Ángel Gurría that urges the international organization to "continue to uphold the democratic values on which the OECD is based." Kasparov helped launch the OECD work on Artificial Intelligence policy that led to the OECD AI Principles, adopted by the OECD member countries, the G-20, and others. The statement to the Secretary General Gurria, signed by more than 70 experts and NGOs, applauds the important work of the OECD in response to the pandemic.

    The expert statement also asks the OECD SG to "make clear the ongoing importance of the OECD policy frameworks that safeguard fundamental rights, from the OECD Privacy Guidelines of 1980 to the OECD AI Principles of 2019." The statement further asked the SG to "continue to use the powerful analytical tools of the OECD to demonstrate that there are many uses of data that do not require 'trade-offs' or 'balancing' and to "urge colleagues at the G-7, the G-20, UNESCO, the ITU to uphold fundamental rights."

    The OECD statement was coordinated by both the Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council to the OECD and the Public Voice coalition. @CSISAC @thepublicvoice @EPICprivacy

    Statement on COVID-19, Privacy, and Fundamental Rights

    April 3, 2020

    The CSISAC invites Non-Governmental Organisations and civil society experts to endorse the Statement to the OECD Secretary General on COVID-19, Privacy, and Fundamental Rights. From the statement:

    Today the OECD and the member countries confront perhaps the biggest challenge in the organization's 60 year history. Many nations are considering proposals to use digital technologies to track and monitor individuals, to enforce quarantines, and perhaps to impose legal penalties. Law enforcement agencies want access to cell phone records. Companies are gathering enormous amounts of personal data related to the pandemic that could be used for other purposes in the future. New transfer arrangements for personally identifiable information are being established with little oversight or accountability. Governments have already limited the scope of preexisting privacy law.

    At the same time, we see innovative approaches that aim to respond to the pandemic and to safeguard privacy and personal liberty. This week several European countries announced that they are creating a "privacy-preserving proximity tracing" app that uses Bluetooth signals between mobile phones to track users who are close enough to infect each other. It is claimed that the software uses privacy-enhancing techniques such as encryption, data anonymization, and data minimization to provide effective tracing while maintaining high data protection standards. We note the efforts of Singapore to curb the spread of the disease by way of a similar app that is open source and exchanges short distance bluetooth signals, while records are stored locally on the phone, and it is claimed that logs will be shared with the Health Ministry only when requested. A major tech company has launched a Screening Tool that provides information about the coronavirus, social distancing, and guidance on testing. The company has stated that it will not collect personal data.

    The claims made regarding the privacy-preserving nature of such applications require further inquiry to ensure that they work as stated and are not repurposed. On behalf of civil society organizations and experts around the world that work with the OECD we therefore urge you to:

  • Make clear the ongoing importance of the OECD policy frameworks that safeguard fundamental rights, from the OECD Privacy Guidelines of 1980 to the OECD AI Principles of 2019;

  • Continue to use the powerful analytical tools of the OECD to demonstrate that there are many use of data that do not require "trade-offs" or "balancing." For example, the OECD's evaluation of "the initial impact of COVID-19 containment measures on economic activities" provides direction to governments without raising privacy concerns. Effective evidence-based analysis can both provide critical insights to policy makers and safeguard privacy and liberty; and

  • Use your role as the leader of one of the most respected international organizations in the world to urge your colleagues at the G-7, the G-20, UNESCO, the ITU and elsewhere to uphold fundamental rights

  • It is not just leaders among the civil society groups that want to ensure governments respect fundamental rights. Those on the front line of the pandemic are also urging governments to safeguard privacy and data protection. Dr. Michael Ryan, a key advisor for the World Health Organization, said last week that there is a tremendous amount of innovation and enthusiasm for new products. But he also cautioned that "when collecting information on citizens or tracking their movements there are always serious data protection and human rights principles involved." Dr. Ryan said, "we want to ensure that all products are done in the most sensitive way possible and that we never step beyond the principles of individual freedoms and rights."

    We must be certain that the actions taken now are necessary and proportionate to the challenges we face. They should be evidence-based and they should respect the traditions on which the OECD was founded.

    Civil society NGOs and experts are invited to endorse using the Public Voice sign-on website.

    AI Challenges Need to be Addressed: Fairness, Accountability and Transparency

    March 17, 2020

    marc-2020-03-17_19-29.pngAt the launch of the OECD Artificial Intelligence Observatory, CSISAC Steering Committee member and President and Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) Marc Rotenberg emphasized the urgency to address the societal challenges introduced by AI. "Decisions using AI techniques are having real impacts on people lives, on employment, education and most notably in the criminal justice field, where many forms of bias are being replicated and embedded in automated systems of decision making". Rotenberg remarked that the OECD is the right place to address the AI challenges, echoing the support of the OECD for economic growth based on the rule of law, democratic institutions and fundamental rights. He exemplified the preeminence of the OECD in technological policy with the influential 1980 Privacy Guidelines, as they continue to inform national law , international agreements and professional recommendations. However "more than a decade intervened between the adoption of the privacy guidelines and the creation of the modern Internet, but we don't have that time to understand the far-reaching implications of AI".

    In addressing the AI challenges, Rotenberg referred to the broad support of the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence, also endorsed by scientific societies, underscoring the importance of fairness, accountability and transparency. Rotenberg renewed CSISAC commitment for a continued engagement on the work on AI policy, finishing with a quote from US inventor Thomas Edison: "What we create with our hands, we should control with our minds".

    Going Digital: Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain

    February 10, 2020

    The OECD has confirmed invitation to CSISAC Steering Committee Marc Rotenberg to take part in the launch of the OECD Artificial Intelligence Policy Observatory, and the presentation of the projected work on Blockchain technology, both in the context of the OECD Going Digital Horizontal Project , 26-28 February 2020 at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every aspect of our lives. It influences how we work and play. It promises to help solve global challenges, but is also brings real challenges for governments and citizens alike, remarkably in fields such as privacy, fairness and inclusion, as emphasized in the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence. Similarly, Blockchain technologies offer potential improvements, but it raises questions about voting and elections, identity management or energy consumption.

    As it permeates economies and societies, what sort of policy and institutional frameworks should guide AI and Blockchain design and use, and how can we ensure that it benefits society as a whole? The CSISAC will continue contributing to this process bringing a civil society voice to the conversation consistently with the Civil Society Goals. Civil society participants are invited to express interest in joining the work of CSISAC in the context of the OECD Going Digital Horizontal Project.

    The launch of the OECD AI Policy Observatory will be available through webcast visiting the link