14 Feb 2022 The Copenhagen Pledge
Tech for Democracy
We believe that the future of democracy relies on our ability to leverage and steer the digital transformation of society in ways that capitalize on its opportunities, while also confronting the challenges. We stand at a crucial junction in the history of democracy, and we need to jointly, responsibly, and proactively develop and use digital technologies and online spaces to cultivate and strengthen democracy, human rights, and the rule of law around the world.
We consider digital technologies, when developed and used responsibly, to be of great potential for supporting democratic institutions, increasing transparency and accountability in governance, and for protecting and promoting human rights. A human rights-based approach to digital technologies and responsible handling of data can help foster a democratic culture, broaden civic engagement in democratic processes, and enhance the open and free exchange of ideas so vital to democracies.
Nevertheless, our expectations and aspirations for the use of digital technologies to work for – and not against – democracy and the enjoyment of human rights have not been fully met. We condemn the exploitation of digital technologies by State and non-State actors to repress and undermine democracy and the enjoyment of human rights, and we recognize that some digital technologies may be exploited to control and infringe upon civic spaces both online and offline.
We remain deeply concerned about any approaches to the development and use of digital technologies or to governance that are inconsistent with international human rights law, free and fair elections, and the vision of an open, accessible, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet.
We have an opportunity and a joint obligation to develop, use, and promote technology in a manner that strengthens democracy. Therefore, we, a multi-stakeholder alliance of governments, multilateral organizations, civil society, and technology companies, hereby commit to working together on promoting a vision for the digital age – based on democratic values and principles.
We believe that the human rights and fundamental freedoms that people have offline must also be protected and promoted online, and we therefore pledge to:
Ensure that the development and use of digital technologies support democratic institutions and processes and contribute to an open and democratic debate online that allows for the free exchange and expression of ideas, by:
- applying our shared democratic values and a human rights-based approach in the design, development, deployment, and use of digital technologies;
- sharing best practices, promoting responsible people-centric approaches, and partnering on inclusive solutions for democracy online and human rights-based digital governance;
- developing digital public goods to promote a safe, active, respectful and tolerant civic participation in democratic processes online.
Make use of digital technologies to enhance the digital resilience and mobilization of civil society, including journalists, pro-democracy activists, and human rights defenders worldwide, by:
- supporting the development and use of digital technologies by and for civil society actors to help protect against human rights violations and abuses and to strengthen accountability;
- enhancing capacity-development, awareness raising, and available resources to increase the digital literacy and digital safety of civil society;
- using digital technologies proactively to narrow digital divides, with a particular focus on marginalized, vulnerable, or disenfranchised groups worldwide.
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