The Council of the EU submitted a ‘Declaration on digital rights and principles: EU values and citizens at the centre of digital transformation‘ (press release).
Friendly words are spoken, but do they address the concerns of citizens, who see crime control rules (AML/CFT [*]) leading to KYC-excesses in banks, among others. And do those principles take away concerns that the digital euro will become a vehicle through which every citizen can be persuaded to behave ‘right’? Will open finance bring benefits only to big business and citizens and SMEs become the losers?
The same kind of friendliness evaporates from the G20 statement of 16 November:
24. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transformation of the digital ecosystem and digital economy. We recognize the importance of digital transformation in reaching the SDGs. We acknowledge that affordable and high-quality digital connectivity is essential for digital inclusion and digital transformation, while a resilient, safe and secure online environment is necessary to enhance confidence and trust in the digital economy. We recognize the importance of policies to create an enabling, inclusive, open, fair and non-discriminatory digital economy that fosters the application of new technologies, allows businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive, and protects and empowers consumers, while addressing the challenges, related to digital divides, privacy, data protection, intellectual property rights, and online safety. We acknowledge the importance to counter disinformation campaigns, cyber threats, online abuse, and ensuring security in connectivity infrastructure. We remain committed to further enable data free flow with trust and promote cross-border data flows. We will advance a more inclusive, human-centric, empowering, and sustainable digital transformation. We also reaffirm the role of data for development, economic growth and social well-being.
It’s the same tech-optimism as you can hear in Europe. These international leaders know the risks, read Secretary-General of the UN Guterres who was at G20 and wrote on twitter:
It is clear that without guidance and guardrails, digital technology has huge potential for harm
A huge potential for harm!
What about the power of Big Tech? What about financial surveillance based on the AML/CFT-legislation of FATF?
Is anything really happening or is it just fine words?
[*] AML = anti-money laundering, CFT = countering terrorist financing.