New inquiry into impact of digital technologies on democracy

By agency reporter
July 15, 2019

The new House of Lords Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies will this week open its inquiry by taking evidence from Baroness O’Neil, a leading expert on ethics and the role of trust and accountability in politics and the media.

The Committee is considering the impact of digital technology on representative democracy, political campaigning and how politics works. It is an area that is becoming increasingly significant as political parties focus their campaigning resources and advertising onto online platforms, and concerns have emerged about accountability and the possibility of hostile foreign states seeking to influence elections in the UK and elsewhere.

The Committee will publish a Call for Evidence before the summer recess in which it will set out the scope of its inquiry. This week’s session with Baroness O’Neill will give the committee an opportunity to explore some the ethical issues raised by the increasing influence of digital technology on democracy. The evidence session will start at 10.35am on Tuesday 16 July 2019.

Areas the Committee will cover with Baroness O’Neill include:

  • The extent to which challenges to democracy are caused by digital technologies and how far those
  • technologies simply provide a platform for existing problems to be aired.
  • Should online platforms for responsible for moderating what is posted on their sites? Should the Government legislate to require that or does that risk the right to freedom of expression?
  • Is the right to anonymity online a good thing?
  • Who should be responsible for identifying and challenging misinformation posted online?

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* House of Lords Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/democ-digital-committee/

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