As the use of digital platforms and services expands across the globe, so too does the need to better understand how they operate and how companies and governments collect and use the data that they generate.

While no single actor or stakeholder group can solve the challenges of the digital age alone, barriers to transparency continue to prevent deeper understanding of government and company data use and collection, and inhibit collaborative approaches to address these concerns.

The Action Coalition on Meaningful Transparency (ACT) works to circumvent these barriers by identifying existing work and opportunities, socializing shared understandings and language, developing a repository of shared resources, identifying and sharing lessons learned, facilitating dialogue and trust building, and fostering collaboration.

The Action Coalition is an initiative launched under the auspices of the Danish Tech for Democracy Initiative and the corresponding year of action. It is governed by a Steering Group of civil society organizations around the world, engaging with an advisory council of public and private sector representatives, and aims to foster a broad set of participants in the multistakeholder advisory coalition (more below and in the terms of reference). The Brainbox Institute serves as the ACT project lead.

Next Steps

The ACT aims to bring together a wide range of academics, civil society organizations, companies, governments, and international organizations to work collaboratively on digital transparency, including by: (i) clarifying relevant definitions and terminology; (ii) mapping existing and identify missing efforts; (iii) sharing lessons learned; (iv) identifying opportunities for alignment and coordination; and (v) producing recommendations for companies, donors, researchers, and governments. This work will be carried out via public and private events and workshops, one-on-one consultations, and ongoing research and dialogue, driven by the project lead. We will communicate updates publicly on the work of the ACT on a regular basis.

Getting Involved

The Steering Group, which consists of eight civil society organizations (listed), provides the strategic oversight and day-to-day operation of the ACT. The group is responsible for determining the composition of the Steering Group and Advisory Council, developing the ACT agenda, reviewing ACT outputs, and providing support and oversight for the project lead.

The Advisory Group will feature a diverse set of experts in their individual capacities, including from companies and government backgrounds, chosen by the Steering Group. The Advisory Group will be given opportunities to weigh in on ACT workplans and outputs and provide guidance to the Steering Group as appropriate.

The Action Coalition Participants, will receive regular updates, event invitations, and opportunities to provide input to ACT workstreams. The Steering Group strives to ensure the ACT participants represent diverse viewpoints and backgrounds, and participants are expected to contribute ACT activities in a respectful, honest manner and respecting relevant confidentiality policies. You can join the coalition using the link at the sign up button above. (Any personal data you share is processed in accordance with the privacy policy.)

In parallel, GNI and the Brainbox institute will be facilitated candid conversations among GNI’s academic, investor, civil society, and ICT company members about the nature of the obstacles to additional transparency and collaboration around company and government data use. Takeaways from this conversation will feed into the work of the ACT.

Events

The ACT regularly leads public and private meetings and events to make progress on work products and update and engage with interested stakeholders. Recent sessions are listed below. Watch this space for future opportunities to engage!

ACT Meaningful Transparency Session at World Press Freedom Day, Tuesday, May 3 from 15-16:00 Uruguay Time, Punta Del Este, Uruguay (Recording Available)

Digital Forensic Research Lab 360/Open Summit, Brussels, June 6-7

RightsCon 2022 session: “Beyond Content Moderation: Ensuring Digital Platform Transparency Measures Address Global Needs” Virtual, June 9

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THE ACT STEERING GROUP:

Center for Democracy and Technology

Center for Technology and Society, FGV University Rio

Centre for International Governance Innovation

Centre for Communications Governance, National Law University

Digital forensic Research Lab

Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Internet Lab

Partnership for Countering Influence Operations

Research ICT Africa