Speaking this week to the European Parliament, President Ursula von der Leyen called for a “digital rulebook” to promote cooperation between the European Union and the United States. Her remarks were delivered just prior to the inauguration of Joe President as US President.
Von der Leyen said “from climate change to health, from digitalisation to democracy – these are global challenges that need renewed and improved global cooperation.” On technology, she emphasized EU support for innovation, but cautioned that “new technologies must never mean that others decide how we live our lives.”
She explained that under the Digital Services Act and the Digital Market Act, “we want the platforms to be transparent about how their algorithms work. We cannot accept a situation where decisions that have a wide-ranging impact on our democracy are being made by computer programs without any human supervision.” She also said that internet companies should take responsibility for the content they disseminate.
It is notable that many EU leaders who strongly opposed Trump’s posts on Twitter also expressed concern about the ability of tech companies to simply shut down speakers they disfavored. As President von der Leyen said, “such serious interference with freedom of expression should be based on laws and not on company rules.”
Von der Leyen emphasized a body of rules based on “human rights and pluralism, inclusion and protection of privacy,” values she emphasized in December at the World Leader Award for Peace and Security, organized by the Michael Dukakis Institute. And she proposed a worldwide digital economy rulebook, “from data protection and privacy to the security of critical infrastructure.”
Marc Rotenberg, Director,
Center for AI and Digital Policy at the Michael Dukakis Institute
The Center for AI and Digital Policy, founded in 2020, advises governments on technology policy.