Agenda for the Meeting of the Digital Citizen Working Group

Thursday 31 October 2019, 13.00-15.00, Room 6, Palais

1. Introduction, welcome

2. Role of the Working Group

3. Revisit recommendations

4. Producing a strategy

5. Update on the survey of INGOs

6. Other business

Role of the Digital Citizen Working Group

Help establish a coordinated strategy for the digital era

Identify the role of civil society organisations and the digital world

How can digital technology reinforce the implementation and achievement of our values?

II. Activity: the six hats of reflection

1) Explanation

The purpose of this activity was to consider the previous questions with a specific point of view.

The room was divided into five groups, each corresponding to a particular vision of digital.

- Red hat: emotions and intuitions (felt, spontaneity)

- Green hat: creativity (ideas, alternatives, possibilities, solutions)

- Black hat: the risks and the criticism (logical reasons for which one can be pessimistic: difficulties, weaknesses, dangers)

- Yellow hat: the advantages (logical reasons for which one can be optimistic: opportunities, benefits)

- White hat: the facts (information, data, neutral point of view and objective)

The blue hats are given to the leaders of each of the five groups for taking a step back in the process.

2) Conclusions

Red Hat

The group shows a hesitation between feelings of helplessness, weakness and worry, even anger. This mainly concerns the use of citizens' personal data for economic reasons.

Hope was also hoped that the data can be used for the progress of health for example. This hope lies in the existence of laws to ensure the proper use of data.

One fear that is finally formulated is that of seeing our emotions used against ourselves, artificial intelligence systems being more and more designed to understand our functioning and thus possibly being able to manipulate us.

Green hat

Creativity is needed to bring people together. New tools can be created to strengthen social bonds between individuals and combat isolation. This concerns, for example, intergenerational networking.

Black hat

In the current context, governments are local and global enterprises. Citizen data can be used to influence changes in society. This use leads to distrust of citizens. In China, for example, data collection is very intense. Easy recognition is used to award rewards or on the contrary to monitor and punish.

The digital problem is the isolation of people.

Policy makers have no interest in taking action because their decisions are guided by the prospects of economic benefits on the one hand and the will to control society on the other.

Yellow hat

Numerous advantages are related to digital: global access to information, the erasing of borders, the saving of time, the liberation from work. There is the birth of an intelligence or a planetary consciousness: individuals are connected like neurons in a brain. We are witnessing the birth of a sharing society where people are free to contribute and create value themselves. This allows for social mobilization around social, national, global causes, etc.

With the removal of intermediaries, links are created more directly.

Digital technology gives the opportunity to break loneliness, even if it is not in the physical world. It allows intellectual exchanges and exchanges of ideas. Physical boundaries are replaced by territories of ideas.

White hat

It is necessary to develop a critical attitude. This requires training that creates a critical awareness of the digital society. People need to be aware of what is going on and have the power to approach politicians or to be politicians themselves.

Notes from the Digital Citizen workshop session 11 April 2019

Following an introduction from the Chair of the group, the working group session heard the perspective of the Council of Europe on the emerging challenges posed by Artificial Intelligence  (AI)

Based on the work already undertaken we were informed of Recommendation 2102 (2017), “Technological convergence, artificial intelligence and human rights” which seeks to:

Examine impact of new technologies on Bioethics

Implement genuine world internet governance

Modernise the Data Protection Convention

Define the use of care robots in Disability Strategy

Develop regulations on AI-related liability

Enhance transparency on use of personal data by AI

Compile standards for using AI in courts

Ensure human control over AI systems

Provide the right to chose a human assistance

Refrain from profiling for targeted killings

A lengthy and detailed discussion of further areas to examine then took place, specifically on the impacts of face recognition, predictive justice and the application of GDPR.

Then following this a “World Café methodology” was implemented to tease out the key issues faced by INGOs. This was a structured conversational process for sharing knowledge, in which groups of people discussed the emergence of the Digital Citizen.

The result was a list of areas that the Conference of INGOs should be concerned about. The Chair had been invited to address the INGO Conference Plenary with these outcomes and comment on the role of the Conference.


The Working Group propose the following recommendations:

The Council of Europe and the INGO conference should:

Defend an open Internet – access for all

Defend freedom of expression and at the same time promote the control of hatred and terrorism.

Encourage the application of existing norms, regulations and laws that are not implemented (e.g. articles 8 and 10 of the Human Rights Convention)

Require the application of laws that provide for the communication to the public of software codes used by states

Consider the development of a charter for users and related education

Protect digital diversity including all Artificial Intelligence


The Council of Europe should:

Establish and respond to resolutions, treaties, codes – develop world instruments

Produce publications for member states / NGOs of the lessons learned and how to protect citizens against negative aspects

Reward excellence in digital developments in human rights, democracy and rule of law

Explore how finances and global tax systems from GAFAM (leading technology companies) reinvested

Look to find ways to ensure the return of ‘our data’ from GAFAM

Prioritise ethical regulations


The INGO Conference should seek to:

Regularly raise and deal with digital issues in the Conference

Understand the impact on INGO Conference members

Engage with NGOs who are responding to digital issues like Techfugees

Re-think learning and education for the digital citizen


The role of the Conference of INGOs was considered to be to:

Explore relationship between activities of CoE and EU in digital sphere

Raise awareness of existing CoE actions to INGOs

Monitor and inform the Council of Europe of examples of excellence in digital citizenship and issues faced by citizens

Make recommendations for action

Establish a vision of the future we want for the digital citizen


What steps could the INGO Conference take in the future?

Develop a clear, integrated digital strategy

Build a connected digital INGO community

Establish credibility and legitimacy

Collect, tell, share our stories ….


Concerning digital issues, the INGO Conference should focus on:

The advantages we can take from the digital world

Realistic implementable answers

The impact on the user

Karl Donert, Vice President Education and Culture Committee INGO Conference, Chair of the Digital Citizen Working Group