‘Urgent Upgrade’ discusses ethical and societal issues raised by digitization. The report is the result of a motion tabled by the Dutch Senate.
The report concludes that digitization challenges important public values and human rights such as privacy, equal treatment, autonomy and human dignity.
At the moment, government, industry and society are not yet adequately equipped to deal with these challenges. Great efforts need to be made at all levels of government and society to steer digitization in the right direction. An urgent upgrade of the governance system is needed, in which ethical and social values are structurally secured. The Rathenau Instituut proposes a national action programme for a responsible digital society.
Kool, L., J. Timmer, L. Royakkers en R. van Est, Urgent Upgrade - Protect public values in our digitized society. The Hague, Rathenau Instituut 2017
The government, industry and civil society must now take action to strengthen the governance landscape, thus ensuring that public values in the digital society will continue to be properly safeguarded.
We are putting forward a five-part proposal that will enable policymakers, businesses and civil society organizations to responsibly upgrade the governance landscape:
Appoint an interdepartmental working group charged with shaping a government vision on how to deal with the societal and ethical significance of digitization, and with ensuring coordination in the political-governance domain.
Strengthen the role and position of supervisory bodies.
Draw up a ‘Digitization Agreement’ formulating the commitments and responsibilities of businesses, government, and civil society actors with regard to safeguarding public values in the digital society.
Hold a national debate on the significance of digitization, in terms of safeguarding public values.
Schedule regular political debates in the Senate and House of Representatives in the Netherlands on the governance of societal and ethical digitization issues.