In November, the United Nations Global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) comes to Germany for the first time. To increase youth participation in preparation for the global IGF this year's Youth Internet Governance Forum Germany took place at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy in Berlin on September 10, 2019.
Around 30 young people under 30 who are committed to Internet Governance and net politics came together for the German Youth IGF at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy to develop concrete demands on topics such as digital education, sustainability of digitization, or open data. The participants discussed with Internet governance experts and contributed their expertise from various disciplines.
The day started with two roundtables. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the classification of Internet governance with Dr. Julia Pohle from the Social Science Center Berlin. Pohle conducts research on the politics of digitization and is a member of the Steering Committee of the national Internet Governance Forum Germany, which took place the following day.
In a second expert discussion, Dr. Christian Stöcker dealt with opinion-forming on the Internet, disinformation and the classification of media relevance. There was a lively debate on the use of media and the lack of contemporary media education. Stöcker is a lecturer in digital communication at HAW Hamburg and writes the column "Der Rationalist" for SPIEGEL ONLINE. He came at the invitation of the Vodafone Foundation Germany, one of the partners of the Youth Internet Governance Forum 2019.
Dr. Johanna Börsch-Supan, Head of Strategy and Programme at the Vodafone Foundation Germany, on the motivation to support the Youth IGF: "Young people should always be consulted for future topics. The Internet is an area that young people play a decisive role in shaping; they are also the largest demographic group of Internet users in relative terms. Nevertheless, the voices of young people are not heard at many levels. This is why we support projects such as the Youth IGF, which aim at effective participation and visibility of young people".
After the discussion rounds, the participants were able to define groups of topics that they consider to be particularly important. In intensive hours of negotiation and formulation, a total of nine demands were developed:
- The Internet should promote diversity and protect fundamental rights. Therefore, Non-discrimination is a standard the government and private actors must to commit to.
- The energy and resource consumption of digitization is a problem not just for the climatebut also for the environment. Because of the prevailing climate crisis, an emission-neutral Internet must be the goal of political and entrepreneurial decisions.
- Beeing sophisticated in virgin territories #Neuland
Nowadays children and teenagers today are not sufficiently educated on how to use the internet responsibly. We need more digital education classes in schools about data protection, privacy,"fake news,“ and other risks within the Internet.
- Reading and writing is a matter of course in school - but not the ABC of data protection. We demand:
A. Transparent and lawful data processing by companies
B. No enforced consent
C. #DataLiteracy for Young and Old
- From public money results public good. Therefore, we call for governments, administrations, and the entire public sector exclusively using and subsidising open software and publicize all data as open data.
- All federal and primarily social services have to be strictly accessible at low thresholds. This requires an expansion of digital administration while maintaining existing points of contact and communication channels.
- From freedom to security, all aspects of fundamental rights must be protected on the platforms and in all dimensions of digitization. The sovereignty of interpretation mustn't be the corporations responsibility.
- Opinion formation within filter bubbles solelydoes not faciliate democracy. The Youth isincreasingly exposed to extreme political positions/opinions. Therefore we call for a change towards a respectful and democratic debating culture.
- We are concerned about targeted disinformation and the circulation of "fake news,“ which impacts especially young peoples opinion formation. We call on the government to takefurther initiative to face this problem
With these positions, the participants were present at the Internet Governance Forum Germany on the following day and engaged in all sessions and workshops. In addition, interested parties were able to engage in conversation at a poster exhibition. The special commitment of the Youth IGF did not go unnoticed. Immediately after the appearance of Federal Minister Peter Altmaier, Elisabeth Schauermann, who coordinates the project for the German Informatics Society (GI), was invited to the main stage to highlight the demands and goals of the participants in a prominent position.
The results of the Youth IGF will go directly to the global Youth Internet Governance Forum, which will culminate on 24 November with participants from all over the world. There is more information on www.yigf.de
The Youth Internet Governance Forum is a project of the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. and is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the Vodafone Foundation Germany, Google, the Fraunhofer IUK Association and the IGF Germany.