Abstract: The global spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been accompanied by a wave of disinformation that is undermining policy responses and amplifying distrust and concern among citizens. Around the world, governments are leveraging public communication to counteract disinformation and support policy. The efficacy of these actions will depend on grounding them in open government principles, chiefly transparency, to build trust in public institutions. This policy brief provides an overview of this new wave of disinformation and notes some emerging examples of OECD member countries’ responses to it through public communication initiatives specifically. It also offers preliminary guidelines on engaging with citizens during the crisis to help address this challenge.
Category Archives: Research
Current approaches to terrorist and violent extremist content among the global top 50 online content-sharing services
This report provides an overview of the policies and procedures for addressing terrorist and violent extremist content (TVEC) across the global top 50 online content sharing services, with a focus on transparency. It finds that only five of the 50 services issue transparency reports specifically about TVEC, and these five services take different approaches in their reports.
OSCE: Leveraging innovation to fight trafficking in human beings: a comprehensive analysis of technology tools
The publication takes stock of technology tools and initiatives developed to combat trafficking in human beings in its different forms in the OSCE area and beyond. It also examines the ways technology can be misused to facilitate trafficking in human beings.
New EIU study finds a need for more balanced regulation to protect innovation and societal benefits
- The increased pace of technological change is making it difficult for regulators to keep up
- A knee-jerk regulatory reaction that results in an outright ban on technologies in response to disruptive forces can stifle innovation
- Regulators need to take a measured approach that balances societal concerns with stakeholder and industry consultation, informed debate and factual analysis
The speed to technological disruption is making it difficult for regulators to keep pace but regulatory response needs to be measured in order to protect innovation, according to a new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit. A fine balance: Regulations and the societal benefits of disruptive technologies is a new research report sponsored by Philip Morris International (PMI). The report examines how best to balance the introduction of new regulation with the societal benefits of new technology through industry case studies and in-depth interviews with senior executives and academics. It includes two case studies—one on the development and impact of regulation on electric scooters and the other on the introduction and use of blockchain technology in rural finance.
The report finds that disruption typically results from friction caused by the introduction of a new technology that makes accepted ways of doing things obsolete. This change can cause fear among segments of society around issues like job security and the loss of tradition. Disruption is not a new thing, and technology that creates more efficient ways of doing things has helped the world progress for hundreds of years. However the pace of such change has become much faster, and regulators have found it difficult to balance societal concerns with societal benefits given the greater speed and the increased scale and scope of the impact from new technology, according to the report.
Starting with electric scooters, the report examines the impact and regulatory response following the introduction of the technology in developed nations like the UK and the US. It also investigates how regulators are approaching fears around the application of blockchain technology in rural finance. Both case studies illustrate how realising the full benefits of these new technologies requires regulators to listen to stakeholder concerns, as well as the arguments for change from industry, and carefully examine the actual impact of such a technology before making any decisions that could have a long-term, negative impact.
“Disruption is here to stay and it is important that regulators are able to keep pace, but also balance that speed with decisions that are based on consideration of stakeholder concerns and empirical evidence as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction,” says Chris Clague, editor of the report and a Managing Editor in Thought Leadership at The Economist Intelligence Unit. “Regulations that result in an outright ban on technologies can stifle innovation, financial growth and societal benefit. Any regulatory change in response to disruption from a new technology should be based on a wide range of information and perspectives, as well the experience of others, to be both constructive and effective.”
About The Economist Intelligence Unit
The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make better decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies. More information can be found at www.eiu.com or www.twitter.com/theeiu.
About Philip Morris International
Philip Morris International (PMI) is leading a transformation in the tobacco industry to create a smoke-free future and ultimately replace cigarettes with smoke-free products to the benefit of adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, society, the company and its shareholders. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities and scientific substantiation, PMI aims to ensure that its smoke-free products, while not risk-free, meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements.
For more information, please visit www.pmi.com and www.pmiscience.com.
The Decline of Media Diversity – and How We Can Save It
In the rush to regulate dominant social media platforms, fundamental rights are being overlooked. As Pierre François Docquir and Maria Luisa Stasi write, there is still time to salvage media diversity, but policy makers will need a toolbox of solutions.
Major social media platforms have empowered individuals who were previously unable to make their ideas visible on a large scale. They have dramatically altered the advertising markets by directly serving news to users to the detriment of media brands — thereby diverting an important source of income from news media. They have built users’ profiles through the accumulation of traces of online navigation and drawn them in targeted advertising. And they have accelerated the dissemination of various kinds of harmful content such as hate speech and disinformation. As a result, policy makers everywhere are working in haste to effectively regulate the digital leviathans — but in the rush, the protection of fundamental rights is at risk of being overlooked.
This classic theme of media policy — the protection of pluralism and diversity — warrants exploration in the context of the current media landscape revolution, and it requires a whole toolbox of solutions.
Americans 60 and older are spending more time in front of their screens than a decade ago
For older Americans, leisure time looks different today than it did a decade agoThe amount of time that Americans ages 60 and older spend on their TVs, computers, tablets or other electronic devices has risen almost half an hour per day over the past decade, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, even as screen time among younger people has more or less held steady.
Those 60 and older – a group increasingly populated by aging Baby Boomers – now spend more than half of their daily leisure time, four hours and 16 minutes, in front of screens, mostly watching TV or videos. Screen time has increased for those in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, and the rise is apparent across genders and education levels. Meanwhile, the time that these older adults spend on other recreational activities, such as reading or socializing, has ticked down slightly.
The Emerging Internet of Things: Opportunities and Challenges for Privacy and Security
One of the most dynamic and exciting developments in information and communications technology is the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). Although networking technologies have become increasingly ubiquitous over the past two decades, until recently they have largely been restricted to connecting traditional end-user devices, such as mainframes, desktop and laptop computers, and, more recently, smartphones and tablets.
Recent years have witnessed the attachment of a much broader range of devices to the network. These have included vehicles, household appliances, medical devices, electric meters and controls, street lights, traffic controls, smart TVs and digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Industry analysts estimate that there are currently more than eight billion such devices connected to the network and project that this number will expand to more than 25 billion by 2020. The increasing deployment of these devices has enabled new use cases for network technologies. Some experts project that the IoT may generate as much as US$13 trillion in revenue by 2025.
The Cyber Security Battlefield: AI Technology Offers Both Opportunities and Threats
Artificial intelligence (AI) is truly a revolutionary feat of computer science, set to become a core component of all modern software over the coming years and decades. This presents a threat but also an opportunity. AI will be deployed to augment both defensive and offensive cyber operations. Additionally, new means of cyber attack will be invented to take advantage of the particular weaknesses of AI technology. Finally, the importance of data will be amplified by AI’s appetite for large amounts of training data, redefining how we must think about data protection. Prudent governance at the global level will be essential to ensure that this era-defining technology will bring about broadly shared safety and prosperity.
AI and Big Data
In general terms, AI refers to computational tools that are able to substitute for human intelligence in the performance of certain tasks. This technology is currently advancing at a breakneck pace, much like the exponential growth experienced by database technology in the late twentieth century. Databases have grown to become the core infrastructure that drives enterprise-level software. Similarly, most of the new value added from software over the coming decades is expected to be driven, at least in part, by AI.
OECD Digital Economy Papers
The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) undertakes a wide range of activities to better understand how information and communication technologies (ICTs) contribute to sustainable economic growth and social well-being.
The OECD Digital Economy Papers series covers a broad range of ICT-related issues and makes selected studies available to a wider readership. They include policy reports, which are officially declassified by an OECD Committee, and occasional working papers, which are meant to share early knowledge.
Online advertising: Trends, benefits and risks for consumers
Online advertising is now the dominant form of advertising in many OECD countries, and offers businesses the ability to reach consumers in ways that could only have been imagined previously. Online advertising has the potential to benefit consumers through more relevant and timely advertising, and by funding a host of “free” online services.
However, it also raises some new and complex challenges for consumers and consumer protection authorities. This report by the OECD’s Committee on Consumer Policy provides an introduction to the complex landscape that is online advertising. It outlines the potential benefits and risks for consumers, drawing on the behavioural insights literature where relevant.