The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought economic and social disruption worldwide. As people and businesses focus on recovery, governments must ensure that innovation which will power economic growth and solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges is not held back by outdated regulations.
Speaking at a panel organized by the World Economic Forum and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ministers from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom announced their plan to lead the world in fostering responsible innovation and entrepreneurship. The Agile Nations Charter sets out each country’s commitment to creating a regulatory environment in which new ideas can thrive.
In a world first, the agreement paves the way for the nations to cooperate in helping innovators navigate each country’s rules, test new ideas with regulators and scale them across the seven markets. Priority areas for cooperation include the green economy, mobility, data, financial and professional services, and medical diagnosis and treatment.
The collaboration is a result of the World Economic Forum’s project on Agile Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which supports regulators around the globe respond to technological innovation. In conjunction with this project:
- The World Economic Forum today published its guide to better regulation of emerging technologies, developed in partnership with the Global Future Council on Agile Governance
- The OECD launched the development of principles on effective and innovation-friendly rule-making in the Fourth Industrial Revolution for its 37 member states, to be adopted in 2021
- At 15.00 CET today, Apolitical will reveal the winners of the first Agile 50 awards, sponsored by the Global Future Council on Agile Governance, recognizing the world’s top public leaders on technology governance
“Too often, rules and laws are designed with the past in mind,” said Murat Sönmez, Managing Director, World Economic Forum. “Our Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution help governments, businesses and citizens co-design for the future – enabling the innovation that will be needed to create jobs, maintain competitiveness and ensure resilience to shocks. We’re excited to work with the new Agile Nations network.”
“Against a backdrop of a once-in-a-century global health and economic crisis, governments need to undertake a paradigm shift in their rule-making activities,” said Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD. “To help governments navigate the challenges and develop more agile approaches to the regulatory governance of innovation, the OECD is developing principles on effective and innovation-friendly rulemaking in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Agile Nations network is an extremely timely initiative to truly foster international regulatory cooperation for better, innovation-friendly and up-to-date regulations worldwide.”
“The UK has a proud history of entrepreneurship and discovery, but it is only by working together internationally that we can truly unleash the incredible potential of new technology,” said Martin Callanan, Business Minister, United Kingdom. “The Agile Nations will boost collaboration to remove regulatory barriers, ensuring innovators and entrepreneurs can market and scale their innovations across all seven nations involved, and I urge other countries to join this important initiative.”
“Canada’s endorsement of the Agile Nations agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating a regulatory environment where innovation can flourish and our respective businesses can be more efficient and competitive globally,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board of Canada. “Canada is ready to play its part in sharing ideas and best practices on agile regulation.”
“As an international company, Siemens has always supported cross-border collaboration,” said Torsten Ende, Head of Government Affairs, Siemens. “Cross-border collaboration of regulators is the best way to avoid unnecessary divergence that could hamper innovation and to ensure future-oriented cooperation and technology with purpose. The proposed Agile Nations network, which fosters cooperation on rule-making, is a great step in the right direction.”
“Regulatory agility, strong business-government partnerships and constructive international regulatory co-operation are key in enabling innovation and helping businesses to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Low Yen Ling, Minister of Trade and Industry, Singapore. “Singapore looks forward to working closely with the Agile Nations network to strengthen collaboration in agile regulation to enable businesses and emerging innovations to rapidly scale up, offer new solutions and drive greater growth.”
“We fully support this Agile Nations network as an initiative to promote international cooperation regarding the concept of ‘governance innovation’ agreed at the 2019 G20 Ministerial Meeting held in Japan. We are happy to share our experiences and knowledge about innovative governance, including projects of the Digital Architecture Design Centre established this year,” said Kouichi Munekiyo, Parliamentary Vice-Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.
“IBM is pleased to support the Agile Nations initiative,” said Christopher Padilla, Vice-President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, IBM. “Even as new breakthroughs in technology are creating immense opportunities and improving economic and social well-being, these innovations are challenging traditional models of regulation. Promoting agile governance is a key mechanism for ensuring we reap technology’s benefits while mitigating risks. The Agile Nations Charter is an important step in fostering the international cooperation necessary to delivering on the promises of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“The creation of the Agile Nations network is a welcome development for technology innovators,” said Diana Paredes, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Suade Labs. “Regulation that is designed for the past and a lack of coordination between regulators is particularly burdensome for innovative start-ups and SMEs. We are excited about this initiative and hopeful that it will encourage diversity and creativity from a wide range of innovators in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“Sperimentazione Italia (Italy Experimentation) allows companies, universities and research institutions to experiment with frontier innovations so that disruptive innovations’ opportunities are not missed. The time is ready to extend and apply the testing of ‘agile regulation’ within the international cooperation among countries,” said Paola Pisano, Minister of Technological Innovation, Italy.
“Facebook welcomes the ‘Agile Nations’ initiative and the commitment to foster cooperation on innovative regulatory practices. We agree with the need for more agile governance of emerging technologies as a collaborative approach involving governments, academia, civil society and industry. To complement this initiative, we will be launching a cross-cutting call for research proposals on different methodological approaches to rulemaking,” said Markus Reinisch, VP, Public Policy EMEA, Facebook.
“The UAE government is proud to endorse the Agile Nations network, which would help adopt agile governance and innovation to build strong, capable and resilient governments, and enable them to tackle future challenges with proactive solutions,” said Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, United Arab Emirates.
“New technologies can accelerate the transition to a more green and sustainable society,” said Katrine Winding, Director-General, Danish Business Authority. “However, regulatory and other barriers currently prevent start-ups and innovative SMEs in particular from bringing their ideas to market. Through innovation-friendly regulation we will support the testing and development of new solutions, ensure equal competition and protect our citizens and the environment. This is no simple task. Denmark looks forward to addressing key challenges through the Agile Nations network.”
Accelerating the Use of Digital Technologies is Key to Boosting Economic Growth in Africa
With Africa’s share of the global workforce projected to become the largest in the world by 2100, it is critical for African countries to increase the uptake of digital technologies* to drive employment growth for the more than 22 million Africans joining the workforce each year, emphasizes a new report released today.
The “Digital Africa: Technological Transformation for Jobs” report provides a comprehensive analysis of how digital technologies can enable economic transformation and boost jobs in the region. It also sheds light on how policy and regulatory reforms can widen the availability and increase usage of digital technologies.
Of all the regions in the world, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) displays the largest gap between the availability of digital infrastructure and people’s actual usage. On average across countries in SSA, 84% of a given country’s population had at least some level of 3G mobile internet availability and 63% had some level of 4G mobile internet services, but only 22% were using mobile internet services at the end of 2021, according to numbers collected by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association using a methodology focused on unique subscribers. Usage rates range from a low of 6% in South Sudan to 53% in South Africa, underscoring the heterogeneity of average use and the need for differentiated policy reforms across countries.
“The minimal usage of mobile internet is a lost opportunity for inclusive growth in Africa,” said Andrew Dabalen, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa. “Closing the uptake gap would increase the continent’s potential to create jobs for its growing population and boost economic recovery in a highly digitalized world.”
Even though technology and innovation are known to drive long-term economic growth and can lead to much-needed modernization in economic activities across agriculture, manufacturing and services, the digital divide continues to grow between large formal and micro-sized informal enterprises, between young men- and older women-owned enterprises, and between richer, urban, and more educated households and poorer, rural, and less educated households. Only 2% of micro-sized firms owned by young women and 8% of micro-firms owned by young men use a computer.
The report highlights evidence that internet availability has a positive impact on creating jobs and reducing poverty in African countries. For example, in Nigeria, labor force participation and wage employment increased by 3 and 1 percentage points, respectively, after three or more years of exposure in areas with internet availability. Job estimates for Tanzania found that working-age individuals living in areas with internet availability witnessed increases of 8 percentage points in labor force participation and 4 percentage points in wage employment, after three years of exposure. Moreover, the proportion of households falling below the national basic need poverty line dropped by 7 percentage points.
“To transform internet availability into productive usage and job growth, the region needs affordable access, digital skills and digital technologies that meet the needs of Africans,” said Christine Zhenwei Qiang, World Bank Global Director for Digital Development. “Continuous sector reforms and targeted public investments that support digital economy foundations and digital uptake can help close the digital divide and unleash tremendous potential for more and better jobs for Africa’s growing population.”
For the 40% of Africans who fall below the global extreme poverty line, the cost of basic mobile data plans is often out of reach. Small and medium-sized businesses in Africa also face more expensive data plans than businesses in other regions. To bring down costs, governments should aim to promote competition in the provision of digital infrastructure and reduce operational costs.
To boost productive usage, governments should implement policies that support the development of more attractive digital solutions geared to the skills and productive needs people have while building broader awareness and education. Policies that foster innovation and support digital start-up entrepreneurs are essential to ensure that more Africans use the internet for jobs and learning, which will lead to higher standards of living. When digital technologies better meet the needs of people, households and firms, demand for their use will also increase, making internet expansion more commercially viable, and supporting a virtuous cycle of technology-led transformation.
*For the purposes of the report, digital technologies are defined broadly to include not only digital and data infrastructure, broadband internet, smartphones, tablets, and computers, but also a wide range of more specialized productivity-enhancing digital solutions ranging from communications, management upgrading, and worker training to procurement, production, marketing, logistics, and financing.
Curbing crime with 3D avatars and intelligent design
Reducing everyday offences may depend on harnessing the power of virtual reality, conscious design and community spirit.
By Alex Whiting
Picture a young offender with a headset immersed in a virtual room, coming face to face with an avatar of his or her future self.
The person tells the avatar about his or her lifestyle, substance abuse, debts or time hanging out with delinquent friends. Then the person travels forward through a 3D representation to become a future self and give the younger one advice.
Facing the future
Enabling people to speak to their future selves and ask for advice could help them make better choices today, some scientists say.
‘If people care more about their future selves, we think they will be less likely to engage in delinquent behaviour in the present,’ said Jean-Louis van Gelder, a professor of criminology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is also director at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law.
Van Gelder and other researchers in the EU are taking inspiration from the world of gaming to help bring home to young offenders the longer-term consequences of their choices. Although the technology is still being tested, the early signs are that these 3D virtual representations could help change behaviour for the better.
It’s one of many crime-prevention techniques being developed across Europe.
People who live in a day-to-day survival mode are more likely to commit crime or to abuse drugs and alcohol. That’s because these types of behaviour deliver immediate, albeit small, benefits. The severe costs – including prison – are often in the distant future.
Such short-term mindsets can result from harsh or unpredictable parenting and exposure to delinquent friends or poor role models, according to Van Gelder.
Short-sightedness and impulsivity are often believed to become relatively fixed in children by the age of 10 years, and it is hard to change. But what scientists are beginning to discover is that it can in fact be worked on, opening up the potential to help people stop committing crimes.
He tested the virtual-reality technology with 24 young offenders as part of an EU-funded research project called CRIMETIME, which runs through March 2024.
‘The interesting thing is that people give themselves very sound advice generally,’ said Van Gelder, who coordinates the six-year project supported through the European Research Council. ‘People tend to tell themselves to stop committing crime or to be more disciplined or to look for a job.’
Participants were asked about their behaviour and attitudes in the week before and after the session. The majority reported less harmful or criminal behaviour and greater awareness of their future selves after the session.
It’s extremely difficult to change people’s behaviour, according to van Gelder.
‘The changes were not large, but we saw a reduction, which tells us that we’re on the right track,’ he said. ‘So our hope is that getting advice from themselves will be more convincing than getting advice from other people.’
The next step is to develop a mobile phone app that will give them a similar experience and could be used every day for several weeks.
‘The more they do the exercise, the more vivid their future self becomes,’ said Van Gelder.
And the more connected they feel with their future selves, the more marked the impact on behaviour.
An EU-funded project called Cutting Crime Impact (CCI), which ran for three years until end-2021, focused on more practical ways of preventing crime. These include making buildings, benches, bags and the like harder to target.
‘You can actually design out crime,’ said Professor Caroline Davey, director of the Design Against Crime Solution Centre at the University of Salford in Britain.
She coordinated CCI, which covered seven European countries: Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
Since the 1990s, theft from homes and cars has fallen with the design of more secure doors, windows and burglar alarms.
‘We’re always trying to encourage designers to think about the risks associated with their particular products,’ said Davey. ‘It’s not rocket science – it’s fairly easy to predict what will be attractive to potential offenders.’
For example, the back of a bench that has gaps large enough to put two fingers through to reach someone’s pocket or bag will encourage pickpockets. By contrast, designing buildings so that neighbours overlook each other deters burglaries.
Researchers have worked with Britain’s Greater Manchester Police to develop a service to advise architects, urban planners and property developers on crime prevention.
‘They highlight the risks in a particular area and advise them on how they can reduce those risks,’ said Davey.
Similar approaches were crafted under CCI with law-enforcement agencies in most of the participating countries. Police in Estonia’s capital Tallinn took part. They report that crime has plummeted in Tondiraba Park – a large public space in the city – since it was revamped in cooperation with the police.
Kelly Miido, senior superintendent in charge of community policing in Tallinn’s Mustamäe-Kristiine district, said she and her colleagues had to work hard to get local authorities and urban planners to think about potential security risks in their designs and ways to remove them.
‘We had to constantly remind planners that we wanted to be part of the process,’ Miido said.
Now, however, planners and local authorities approach her team to ask for design help.
‘They have found that, if they involve us, they have fewer problems in the long run,’ Miido said.
Before the redesign, the local police had to send a patrol every day to the park during the summer. Now they are called out two or three times a week.
One of CCI’s most important results is a handover process for when community police officers are redeployed, according to Davey, who coordinated the project.
Such patrollers, who walk the streets and get to know locals, play an important role in preventing crime. Because people can talk to them informally, these officers learn a lot about neighbourhood concerns and troubles, including in relation to social vulnerability and radicalisation.
‘Community policing is so important, but is often undermined by lack of funding and appreciation for what these officers do,’ said Davey.
That is reflected in the way that officers can be redeployed with no handover process. Relationships built up over years with a community can be lost overnight.
‘The community aren’t told about the change and often organisations the police officer works with – like social services and schools – don’t know,’ said Davey. ‘This can have a significant impact on people’s trust in policing and, ultimately, their quality of life.’
A handover system addresses the matter with relative ease and at low cost. It involves the redeployed officer and his or her replacement walking the area together and meeting key people.
‘It captures something very human and important, which is the relationships that exist between community police officers, local people and local organisations,’ said Davey.
The article was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine.
The Reason Why Europe’s “Right To Be Forgotten” Hasn’t Made it To The United States
In the digital age, an individual’s data can be searchable and accessible at the speed of one click. The more someone interacts with the Internet, the bigger their digital footprint becomes. This footprint is collected, analysed and passed around by countless third parties without the owner’s explicit consent. In addition to companies making a profit from personal data, there’s a high risk of falling victim to leaks and harmful activity. In Europe, the “right to be forgotten” seeks to ensure its citizen’s digital privacy in the data mining economy. In the United States, the concept has drawn both interest and criticism.
What exactly is the right to be forgotten?
The right to be forgotten appears in Article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), stating that the “data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller the erasure of personal data concerning him or her without undue delay and the controller shall have the obligation to erase personal data without undue delay.” In other words, an individual has the ability to request search engines like Google to delist certain results linked to their name and remove sensitive data from public record databases.
To date, the right to be forgotten is only applicable to residents of the European Union and the European Economic Area. However, it is not an absolute right and it is only valid under specific circumstances, including cases where an organisation has unlawfully processed a person’s data, the data has become irrelevant to the organisation or where the collected data belongs to a child.
While the right to be forgotten was not a GDPR’s invention — it had been present in several jurisdictions in Europe — it gained significantly more traction after the 2014 Google vs. Spain case. The case related to a lawyer whose bankruptcy records had been published on a website that was accessible via Google. The Court ruled in favour of the plaintiff, radically changing the way Europe dealt with digital privacy.
Barriers in the United States
Even though the right to be forgotten only applies to European residents to date, the concept has been gaining ground worldwide. From Argentina to Canada and Japan, policymakers, courts, companies and digital privacy activists have debated whether the right should be incorporated into their nations’ laws. In countries like the Philippines, there is already a version of the right to be forgotten, granting people the ability to order the blocking, removal or destruction of their personal data.
What about the United States? To date, there are no all-encompassing laws or regulatory requirements regarding the blocking or removal of personal information from Google’s search results or online databases in the North American nation. While several states have considered laws similar to the right to be forgotten, none of them reach the scope of Europe.
Critics of the right to be forgotten argue that it contradicts the First Amendment, which grants American citizens the right to free speech. It is believed that the implementation of such a law would contribute to a widespread erasure of digital content that would negatively impact freedom of expression and other human rights. However, according to a survey by Pew Research Center, 74% of U.S. adults support the idea of preventing personal information from being accessible online, while only 23% of respondents favour the ability to discover useful information about others.
Current privacy protection laws and resources in the United States
American privacy protection laws differ from Europe in the sense that there is a lack of a single, comprehensive federal law like the GDPR. By contrast, the U.S. has numerous federal and state laws that offer varying degrees of protection to specific groups of people and focus on specific types of data. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), for example, imposes certain limits on companies’ data collection of children under 13 years old, while the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants California residents the right to ask businesses to disclose what personal information they have collected and to delete said information.
The official website of the U.S. government encourages citizens to find out from their state or local consumer agency whether their state has laws to protect their privacy. In addition, they recommend adopting preventive measures, including reading companies’ privacy policies, encrypting Internet connection via a VPN, disabling cookies, and opting out of companies’ mailing lists.
Service providers have also sought to address the privacy question, as evidenced by a surge in automated tools and software that facilitate digital data removal. Companies such as Incogni can have their subscribers’ names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, and other sensitive information removed from market-leading data collection sites.
Going forward, in spite of the scepticism toward the EU’s right to be forgotten, the prevalence of the data mining economy will continue generating discussions on digital privacy protection.
Price hike in Pakistan: the worst of all worries
The most serious issue Pakistan’s economy is currently dealing with is price increases or inflation. Life has become miserable for...
Vietnam’s macroeconomic policy and post COVID recovery
As per the latest IMF reports real Gross Domestic Product(GDP) of Vietnam in 2023 is estimated at 6.2 percent. This...
Azerbaijan’s Favorable Climate for Foreign Investments
Azerbaijan, situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, presents investors with plentiful opportunities, chiefly in the area of oil...
China’s Saudi Iranian mediation spotlights flawed regional security policies
A Chinese-mediated Saudi-Iranian reconciliation potentially casts a spotlight on fundamentally flawed security policies of regional powers, including not only the...
Europe’s relations with Africa and Asia are on the brink of collapse, and Russia is benefiting
More than one year since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the world remains caught in the middle. Against...
A common vision for China with the Egyptian General Intelligence Service
China relies a lot on the Egyptian role and the role of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service as an active...
EU joins efforts to address the global water crisis and ensure water security for all by 2050
From tomorrow, at the United Nations Water Conference in New York from 22 to 24 March, the EU will be...
Energy4 days ago
The Maneuvering Of Gas Commodities As Securitization Of Russia’s Geopolitical Position
Travel & Leisure4 days ago
Break from the Crowds this Spring and Escape to these Family‑Friendly Destinations
Economy3 days ago
Asian century: The creation of new world order and its impacts on existing global economic governance
Economy4 days ago
Xi Jinping and the implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy in China
Americas3 days ago
Can Lula walk the tightrope between Washington and Beijing?
South Asia4 days ago
State discrimination and Balochistan insurgency
World News3 days ago
WP: Ukraine short of skilled troops and munitions as losses, pessimism grow
Economy4 days ago
Xi Jinping: Promote the private sector economic and technological development zones