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Big Tech Coalition Partners With WEF, Pushes “Global Digital Safety” Standards

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Big Tech coalition Digital Trust & Safety Partnership (DTSP), the UK’s regulator OFCOM, and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have come together to produce a report.

The three entities, each in their own way, are known for advocating for or carrying out speech restrictions and policies that can result in undermining privacy and security.

DTSP says it is there to “address harmful content” and makes sure online age verification (“age assurance”) is enforced, while OFCOM states its mission to be establishing “online safety.”

Now they have co-authored a WEF (WEF Global Coalition for Digital Safety) report – a white paper – that puts forward the idea of closer cooperation with law enforcement in order to more effectively “measure” what they consider to be online digital safety and reduce what they identify to be risks.

The importance of this is explained by the need to properly allocate funds and ensure compliance with regulations. Yet again, “balancing” this with privacy and transparency concerns is mentioned several times in the report almost as a throwaway platitude.

The report also proposes co-opting (even more) research institutions for the sake of monitoring data – as the document puts it, a “wide range of data sources.”

More proposals made in the paper would grant other entities access to this data, and there is a drive to develop and implement “targeted interventions.”

Under the “Impact Metrics” section, the paper states that these are necessary to turn “subjective user experiences into tangible, quantifiable data,” which is then supposed to allow for measuring “actual harm or positive impacts.”

To get there the proposal is to collaborate with experts as a way to understand “the experience of harm” – and that includes law enforcement and “independent” research groups, as well as advocacy groups for survivors.

Those, as well as law enforcement, are supposed to be engaged when “situations involving severe adverse effect and significant harm” are observed.

Meanwhile, the paper proposes collecting a wide range of data for the sake of performing these “measurements” – from platforms, researchers, and (no doubt select) civil society entities.

The report goes on to say it is crucial to make sure to find out best ways of collecting targeted data, “while avoiding privacy issues” (but doesn’t say how).

The resulting targeted interventions should be “harmonized globally.”

As for who should have access to this data, the paper states:

“Streamlining processes for data access and promoting partnerships between researchers and data custodians in a privacy-protecting way can enhance data availability for research purposes, leading to more robust and evidence-based approaches to measuring and addressing digital safety issues.”

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