Since Reset launched earlier this year, we’ve been working to contribute to the development, implementation and enforcement of regulations that change the products and services available in the marketplace for digital news and information. The hope is that through this work we will reduce the influence of disinformation, blunt the impact of fragmentation and polarisation in society, change consumer expectations with respect to quality/credible information, and ultimately stabilise a modern public sphere capable of supporting democratic self-government.Here we introduce some of our new partners to illustrate the work that’s being done to help achieve these aims all around the world.
In the UK, we are working to engage with the government in a number of ways. Firstly to advance the online harms legislative framework in parliament. The 5 Rights Foundation have been active advocates for robust legislation as it pertains to protecting children online in the Online Harms Bill. Their work has been complemented by the policy proposals and development of Carnegie UK Trust, which has been a staunch advocate of the Duty of Care framework to address online harms. We are also exploring litigation and regulatory pressure relating to the recently completed Age Appropriate Design Code. Other work in the UK policy space is being done by the Open Rights Group, as they work on a series of complaints and engagements relating to the processing of personal data by political parties. The work of AWO Agency is critical for our work in the UK policy and civil society spaces and seeks to support the work of each of our partners.
Here we also aim to advance platform accountability regulations by playing an active policy development and advocacy role in the drafting of the Digital Services Act and European Democracy Action Plan, ensuring it sets a strong precedent on critical policy interventions such as access to data and audit/inspection regimes for digital media platforms. We also seek to use this work to engage key leaders in large member state governments to set the stage for proper enforcement. Our partner AWO Agency has a Brussels-based team, who are instrumental in supporting this work through direct lobbying, policy development, and engagement with key member states.
Our goal in Australia is to surge capacity and resources to help catalyse any positive legislative steps made by the government relating to platform regulation, child online safety, antitrust law and data privacy. We partnered with Purpose Australia and set up an ambitious new entity, Responsible Technology Australia, to spearhead our work by engaging policy makers, academics and advocating for policy change.
With November’s US presidential election, an important focus of our work in the region is to support organisations that monitor and seek to reduce the influence of disinformation, hate speech, censorship through noise, and other forms of organised, inauthentic activity in digital media during the election cycle. We aim to help ensure these collective efforts inform a blueprint for monitoring and reducing disinformation in election cycles that can be replicated anywhere in the world. Partners including Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Center for Digital Resilience, Guardian Project, Simply Secure, Throneless Tech, NYU, and NCOC are working to understand and respond to disinformation efforts targeting the US Presidential Election in 2020 and digital literacy campaigns. We have a small team in DC that plays an active role in scoping opportunities for policy development, collaboration with other groups and strategic communications.We made a grant to CIVIX to enable the Canadian-based education and civic engagement organisation to scale and consolidate the growth of its Colombian operation. It will expand its digital literacy programmes and add a new project that seeks to take existing modules for teacher training and curriculum building blocks, and rapidly convert it into materials designed for the home school environment with a focus on COVID-19 themes in disinformation.
We have provided contracts and grants for top academics, for example from MIT/University of Regina to develop and present research projects on platform accountability in accessible formats for policy staff around the world. We are also working to develop an organised repository of policy research and academic scholarship on our areas of interest. This work is led by Ben Lennett, formerly a senior research fellow at the Open Technology Institute. Other research grants have been made to some of the leading thinkers in the space, including Shoshana Zuboff so she can focus on producing the next phase of her ground-breaking work on surveillance capitalism. A grant to NetGain will enable new strategies and approaches to public interest research on platforms, further develop a global civil society dialogue and strategy, and facilitate learning among partners through a Digital Security Lab. A contract to Meedan will enable their support of the Myanmar Tech Accountability Network efforts to mitigate the risk of social media-induced violence and instability in Myanmar.