The Digital Agenda is one of the foremost issues facing the European Union. As more professions, sales, services, etc. go online, the associated policies must be updated and expanded accordingly. While the GDPR was a step in the right direction, serious issues of privacy, copyright, and the digital single market remain. Foremost, the issue of privacy must be further tackled, such as the rampant data breaches as well as lackadaisical treatment by companies of the GDPR regulation. Penalties must be increased for those companies that claim to abide by the law but in reality sell their users’ data and activities to the highest bidder.Regarding Copyright, Article 13 is a step in the wrong direction. While authors, artists, and other copyright holders should enjoy further protections, on the other hand a “one size fits all” policy in this area is not sufficient and does not truly represent the dynamism of the law and the sector. As such, copyright laws and intellectual property rights should be reconsidered and adjusted in line with the new digital situation we are confronted with. Lastly, as more and more professions turn to and rely on the internet, the laws regarding telework and internet-based professions should be further updated in line with the present reality. Barriers between the markets of the different member states should be further reduced as well as a strengthening of the digital single market itself. As such, with the rise of an ever more upwardly mobile and digitally based population, the possibility for European professionals to be able to do business across the EU would be greatly increased, as well as the ability for these same professionals to be able to live and work where ever they so choose in the EU as their work would be primarily online, leading to greater cohesion and cooperation.
Every day we see some headline or article predicting massive loss of jobs due to digitalization, plants closing, AI replacing humans and how the new digital and technological revolution will be so disruptive that will cause massive chaos. This might all be true, but on the other side, i think digitalization may be a big opportunity that can improve our lives if we prepare for it. In fact, it already improves our lives, Look at how much knowledge can be easily acessible to everyone because of digitalization and the proliferation of apps? Look at how interconnected we are and how we can share experiences, ideas or thoughts something that greatly improves public policy. And in the near future, can you imagine how much better will be when thousands of boring and repetitive jobs will be performed by machines while humans work on more creative activities? I think technology will harness our potential as human beings! That doesn’t mean we should not regulate technological progress. On the contrary; we should be vigilant about it and use it for our needs. If not, technology will end up benefiting the very few who control it and that will certainly lead to political disruption. I suggest a few policies that we could promote as social democrats: Mandatory teaching of the basic of programming and AI in all schools and universities: It sounds radical but we are on the verge of a big revolution; we need a big reform in the curriculum of schools. We can only prepate the next generation for future jobs if we have a more modern and futuristic education now. In some elite schools this is already happening; doing this in all schools assures some degree of equality of opportunities Labor rights in freelance platforms: It’s an undeniable reality that freelancer jobs represent in part the future of labour. Some in my generation are forced to do these kind of jobs, others prefer a more relaxed lifestyle with flexible work. Either way, there should be some rules and there are ways to enhance the lives and opportunities of freelancers: allowing every freelancer to keep it’s positive reviews when working in another platform(If i work at uber and have positive reviews should be able to keep them if going to work in a competitor like cabify etc); allow workers to have a right to sick pay when they work for a certain platform for a certain period of time. There are countless of other policies, that i could highlight, some were already tried but i’m broadly optimistic about the future if we set in motion a serious of important policies now to prepare for tomorrow.
Since the 2012 Obama election (see the Narwhal project) and the Egypt Arab Spring, political forces and international players have become aware of the power of Digital for cultural and political change – some of them not for the best goals, such as terrorist and extremist groups as ISIS, dictators who want to keep a grip on the public perception of their country, or even yet political players who want to prep a traditional military invasion of another country by using digital warfare beforehand in a combined hybrid offensive strategy. Everywhere in the world – and EU as well – there is a rise of the Far Right (currently going by the name of Alt Right) fueled by fake news, bots, armies of fake profiles on social networks, paid digital advertising, criptocurrency-funding, in conjunction with more classic digital warfare approaches: hacking of opponent parties servers (such as Emmanuel Macron’s campaign, and more recently all the parties in Germany except the AfD), spoofing of official presences, doxxing of activists/political opponents data (see Wikileaks), online bullying, trojan-horsing (the Ukrainian 2014 election, for example), data weaponizing (such as the Cambridge Analytica case), recruitment & radicalization, etc. This is combined as well with massive amounts of propagada content such as blogposts, memes, video, podcasts, etc that give rise to «alt-right celebrities» that end up giving their testimonies in traditional media and offline outpost and events, such as demonstrations and Universities’ conferences and even radio and TV shows. Sometimes, even new media outposts that spread both credible content mixed with blatant propaganda are created to hide their real purpose (see In The Now, for instance). Their goal is to communicate a sense of urgency, either by railing up against ethnic and/or religious minorities, LGBT communities, ecologists, feminists, refugees, discredit the Left Wing and the more centristic politicians (even if they are Right Wing), democratic institutions, such as courts, EU, journalists, Science. This sense of urgency makes people feel threatened enough to be more flexible to accept populist and charismatic leaders, even if they have no real political agenda (see Salvini, Le Pen, Bolsonaro) and even if they defend a violent, regressive agenda, on top of a liberal economy in favor of the top tier of the population and against the more disenfranchised – who paradoxically support them in troves. It is time for the EU to create a joint trans-national multidisciplinary task force that can detect and prevent attacks and interferences of foreign belligerent forces in our democracies and our democratic elections, detect collaborationism with these very same forces within EU and treat them as organized terrorist forces, track criptocurrency and traditional currency movements that give these groups a new energy and much more. At the same time, another arm must be created to ensure education of the European pupulation on digital literacy, fact-check propaganda in real-time, create digital presences that can talk to people and serve them in chats in real-time, to connect them with the whole EU project and produce content that educate people on general topics such as Democracy and the European project. The whole Digital project has then to provide legislators practical knowledge that will enpower them to create legislation to bring these bad actors to court and secure our Democracy, including demanding real accountability to digital platforms, whether big, such as Facebook, Google or Twitter, but also smaller, more specific (and more prone to extremist infections) platforms such as GAB. This is actually a starting point, but there is already a lot here to unpack.