International governmental organizations, as well as governments around the world, right now are rushing to launch new initiatives to regulate the digital space. From the infrastructure of the Internet itself, to narrower applications such as the Metaverse – the problem of regulation is showing up as an urgent concern. But what if regulation isn’t the only answer?
Project Liberty’s McCourt Institute recently provided submissions to UNESCO, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR), and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), arguing that decentralized technology can be part of the solution to some of the internet governance challenges we face today.
Regulation may not always be an adequate response to technological breakthroughs, as it often struggles to keep up with the lightning-fast pace of innovation. Decentralized technology can help bridge the gap by providing more flexible, agile and responsive governance models to innovation.
However, ethical governance to foster responsible innovation is not just about technical solutions – it is about finding a way to balance the benefits of technological progress with the potential risks and unintended consequences that can emerge. It requires a holistic approach that considers not only the technical aspects of innovation, but also the social, cultural, and political implications of new technologies.
This is where decentralized technical solutions come in. By enabling more equitable and inclusive decision-making processes, decentralized systems can help ensure that everyone – including marginalized and underrepresented groups – is taken into account. This can be particularly valuable in areas where traditional governance models have struggled to keep up with the pace of change, such as in the realm of digital privacy.
The McCourt Institute’s submissions to UNESCO, OHCR, and ITU highlight the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to ethical governance of the Internet – one that considers both technical and non-technical factors. By embracing decentralized technology as part of this approach, we can create more agile and responsive governance models, better equipped to deal with the challenges ushered in by innovation in the 21st century.
Instead of just rushing to regulate, we call on stakeholders to explore ethical technological innovation as a wiser complementary path for the common good.