Swiss IGF 2023: Highlights from the Youth IGF

Youth IGF
Youth IGF Informs
Published in
5 min readJul 31, 2023

Digital-related issues of high interest to Swiss stakeholders were the central focus of the Swiss IGF 2023, which took place on 13 June in Bern and online. Three main issues attracted the attention of the audience this year: the responsible and ethical use of personal data, artificial intelligence, and platform regulation and accountability.

Swiss IGF 2023

It is crucial that we entrust our personal information to organisations and businesses that will use it ethically and for a specific purpose. Judith Bellaiche, a member of the Swiss National Council, eloquently highlighted the importance of transparency when it comes to data usage. We as consumers deserve the right to withdraw our approval for data use if it is for any other purposes outside the initial agreement. With this power we can rest easy, knowing that our information is in good hands. It’s time to demand a better standard and ensure that our trust in data usage isn’t taken for granted.

Judith Bellaiche, a member of the Swiss National Council at Swiss IGF 2023. Photo by Youth IGF

The message of André Golliez, Assistant Professor at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, was clear: to ensure the secure and seamless secondary use of data, we need to invest in modern infrastructure and optimise cooperation between different parties. Together, we have the power to revolutionise data management in Switzerland. By doing so, we can unlock a plethora of opportunities for industries across the board, from healthcare to finance, and everything in between.

André Golliez, Assistant Professor at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts at Swiss IGF 2023. Photo by Youth IGF

Switzerland has set a remarkable example in the blockchain field by introducing the first legal regulations for the technology. Gerhard Andrey, a member of the Swiss National Council, noted that the Swiss DLT Act serves as a reminder of how progressive the country is when it comes to innovation and technology. However, as AI continues to reshape the world as we know it, it is equally important to introduce legal frameworks for its development and use.

Gerhard Andrey, a member of the Swiss National Council at Swiss IGF 2023. Photo by Youth IGF

Switzerland is at the forefront of technological innovation, but that doesn’t mean it needs to follow in the footsteps of other countries to regulate AI. According to Thomas Schneider, Ambassador and Director of International Affairs at the Swiss Federal Office of Communications, Switzerland doesn’t have to adopt a horizontal regulation like the EU’s AI Act. Instead, the government should prioritise assessing the potential risks associated with different AI products and classifying them accordingly. This approach empowers businesses and innovators to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in AI, while ensuring that the technology is safe and reliable for everyone.

Thomas Schneider, Ambassador and Director of International Affairs at the Swiss Federal Office of Communications at Swiss IGF 2023. Photo by Youth IGF

As AI technology develops at an unprecedented pace, it is vital that we keep up with the times. However, despite the need for regulation, political and legislative decision-making processes have been lagging behind. For this reason, Jörg Mäder, a member of the Swiss National Council, believes that it is time to speed things up and start leading an open dialogue with citizens on AI. The rapid rise of advanced AI software is truly incredible, but it’s time that political and legislative decisions on AI regulation kept up with the pace.

Jörg Mäder, a member of the Swiss National Council at Swiss IGF 2023. Photo by Youth IGF

We need to take a step forward and empower ourselves with knowledge on AI. Min Li Marti, a member of the Swiss National Council, has identified a pressing need for better awareness-raising among the Swiss population when it comes to AI algorithms and their impact on users. By becoming more well-informed about AI, we can be better equipped to understand and adapt to changes around us.

Min Li Marti, a member of the Swiss National Council at Swiss IGF 2023. Photo by Youth IGF

As we continue to rely more and more on digital platforms, it’s crucial that we take the necessary steps to ensure that they operate in a fair and accountable manner. With this in mind, Estelle Pannatier from AlgorithmWatch Schweiz is calling for national regulation of digital platforms in Switzerland. By requiring platforms to grant access to data on their impact on users and to evaluate the risks, we can create a more transparent and safe online environment for all. Not only does this protect individual rights, but it also promotes a thriving economy that benefits both consumers and businesses.

Estelle Pannatier from AlgorithmWatch Schweiz at Swiss IGF 2023. Photo by Youth IGF

And let’s not forget the warning from Nicolas Sacroug from Proton — if Switzerland fails to implement legislation like DSA and DMA, our fellow Swiss users could be left with fewer protections than their EU counterparts. It’s time to take action and ensure that Switzerland remains a leader in the digital age.

Nicolas Sacroug from Proton at Swiss IGF 2023. Photo by Youth IGF

The Youth IGF message to Swiss decision-makers on emerging technologies has been inspiring. With a particular focus on artificial intelligence, our young leaders have highlighted the importance of investing in digital literacy so that everyone can have a better understanding of AI. They are pushing for transparency, demanding that users be informed when AI and automated decision-making systems are in use.

MESSAGE FROM SWISS YOUTH IGF TO DECISION-MAKERS!

Additionally, they are calling for a more thorough assessment of the societal consequences of AI applications. Another focus area has been platform regulation. The youth message recognises the importance of digital integrity and is advocating for what is illegal offline to also be illegal online. In the cybersecurity field, our young leaders are championing investments in education and training to help individuals and businesses hone their cybersecurity skills. In addition, they are calling for mandatory data security standards, and state defensive aids, which should be available upon request. With such inspiring young minds leading the charge, the future of emerging technologies is indeed very promising.

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Youth IGF
Youth IGF Informs

Young leaders about policies & governance. Focus on online safety, cybersec skills, online fakes & all the hottest internet issues. Founder Yuliya Morenets