YouthxPolicyMakers: Final roundtable on privacy, data protection and vulnerable groups

For the fourth and final time, our youth ambassadors met with policy makers to discuss topics in internet governance.

The last roundtable between youth ambassadors and four policy makers took place this Tuesday in the youth engagement project YouthxPolicyMakers, which the German Informatics Society (GI) has been heading since June and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The participants discussed topics in privacy, data protection and vulnerable groups. The ambassadors defined vulnerable populations online as reflecting those offline: marginalized groups, ethnic or religious minorities, women and children. Of particular interest were politically persecuted populations, and the ambassadors called for more international multi-stakeholder cooperation in protecting journalists and political opposition members both in their digital presence and in the consequences of their online activities. 

Marina Kaljurand, Member of the European Parliament from Estonia and Rachael Gallagher, a Privacy Policy Manager covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Meta. The youth ambassadors demanded stronger cybersecurity education, as the expectation for users to be able to protect themselves and their data is currently too high. The policy makers agreed—Marina Kaljurand said that if students were only being taught how to stay safe online as teenagers, it was already too late. The ambassadors also expressed concern for the ability of government to regulate big tech companies that deal with peoples' private data. Rachael Gallagher responded by saying that such platforms need to do a better job of making their structure understood to governments, as it is clear that there is a knowledge gap in the regulatory process.

The roundtable was the last of four such meetings that began in October. The program admitted a total of about 60 youth ambassadors after receiving more than 1700 applications from all world regions. The exchange serves as a preparation for the UN Internet Governance forum in December. Over the past few months, the youth ambassadors have participated in competency-building workshops on a range of internet governance topics and enabled the participants to gather expertise and consolidate positions and demands ahead of the roundtables.


a project by
supporting partners in 2019