UNAffairs: “At a time when “the only certainty is more uncertainty”, countries must unite to forge a new, more hopeful and equal path, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the General Assembly on Friday, laying out his priorities for 2022.
“We face a five-alarm global fire that requires the full mobilization of all countries,” he said, referring to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, a morally bankrupt global financial system, the climate crisis, lawlessness in cyberspace, and diminished peace and security.
He stressed that countries “must go into emergency mode”, and now is the time to act as the response will determine global outcomes for decades ahead….
Alarm four: Technology and cyberspace
While technology offers extraordinary possibilities for humanity, Mr. Guterres warned that “growing digital chaos is benefiting the most destructive forces and denying opportunities to ordinary people.”
He spoke of the need to both expand internet access to the nearly three billion people still offline, and to address risks such as data misuse, misinformation and cyber-crime.
“Our personal information is being exploited to control or manipulate us, change our behaviours, violate our human rights, and undermine democratic institutions. Our choices are taken away from us without us even knowing it”, he said.
The UN chief called for strong regulatory frameworks to change the business models of social media companies which “profit from algorithms that prioritize addiction, outrage and anxiety at the cost of public safety”.
He has proposed the establishment of a Global Digital Compact, bringing together governments, the private sector and civil society, to agree on key principles underpinning global digital cooperation.
Another proposal is for a Global Code of Conduct to end the infodemic and the war on science, and promote integrity in public information, including online.
Countries are also encouraged to step up work on banning lethal autonomous weapons, or “killer robots” as headline writers may prefer, and to begin considering new governance frameworks for biotechnology and neurotechnology…(More)”.