Over 275 Nobel laureates, journalists, climate and human rights activists, and other experts join call for urgent action to rein in Big Tech
- 10-Point Plan to be presented by Maria Ressa at Nobel Prize Summit on Truth, Trust and Hope in Washington DC, 24-26 May
- Plan gains momentum as Europe looks to enforce landmark Digital Services Act
- Signatories include Amnesty International, Bill McKibben, Friends of the Earth US, Irene Khan, Joseph Stiglitz, Kumi Naidoo, and Laurence Tubiana
A plan created by 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov to rein in Big Tech and rebuild journalism is gaining support across different movements, including human rights, climate justice, and journalism. Since the plan was first launched at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo last year, hundreds more individuals and organisations have added their support, including prominent climate activists Bill McKibben and Laurence Tubiana, leading authors Timothy Synder and Moises Naim, and film directors Mike Lerner and Asif Kapadia.
Maria Ressa will present the plan on 24 May at The Nobel Prize Summit: Truth, Trust and Hope, co-hosted by the Nobel Foundation and National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. As concern grows about the potential dangers of rapid advances in artificial intelligence, the summit will convene laureates, leading experts and the public to discuss how to stop mis- and disinformation undermining democracy, prevent online harms, and restore trust in science.
Maria Ressa said: “Democracy, freedom, and peace are under threat from hate and lies online. This 10-point plan outlines the systemic changes that rights-respecting governments should take to counter the threat posed by Big Tech’s business model, including protecting citizens’ rights to privacy, and rebuilding independent journalism as the antidote to tyranny.”
The 276 signatories include a number of journalists, including George Monbiot, Carole Cadwalladr, and Kirsty Lang from the UK, Claire Richard from France, Patricia Campos Mello from Brazil, Peter Greste from Australia, Rana Ayyub from India, Gerard Ryle from the US, and organisations such as The Intercept, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Rory Peck Trust, and PEN International.
They are joined by Members of Parliament from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia; six Members of the European Parliament; two members of the British House of Lords; tech whistleblowers Frances Haugen and Aerica Shimizu Banks; human rights and environmental activists Kumi Naidoo and Esmerelda de Belgique; three UN special rapporteurs; and over 140 non-governmental organisations, including Avaaz, Human Rights Watch and Transparency International EU.
The plan is supported by a network of civil society organisations campaigning for reform under the umbrella of ‘People vs Big Tech.’ It is designed to be a powerful advocacy tool, which demonstrates widespread concern about Big Tech-driven harms, shows that widely accepted solutions exist, and highlights the urgency of action. It can inform legislators and policy makers, and mobilise citizens.
For information about the Nobel Peace Centre contact Ingvill Bryn Rambol on +47 924 52 944, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard
“Human rights everywhere are under threat because of Big Tech’s toxic business model. Our information ecosystem has been poisoned by a system that prioritises profit over people – with grave consequences for the most marginalised and at-risk communities across the world. Yet this dangerous business model remains largely unregulated. In order to abide by their obligations to respect and protect human rights, it is imperative that governments take meaningful action to introduce and enforce effective regulations on Big Tech.”
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org and founder of Third Act
“Big Tech’s business model is driving polarisation and undermining our ability to come together to respond to the climate crisis. We are distracted and divided by Big Tech fuelled greenwashing and disinformation. The fight for accountability from tech giants is now core to the fight for our planet.”
Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a key architect of the Paris Agreement
“Big Tech’s business model is driving polarisation and populism when the climate crisis requires collective intelligence and a commitment to both science and democracy. Algorithms are being deployed to divide and disconnect us from one another. New EU regulations show Europe is best-placed to hold the line, define the meaning of a good digital life, and protect our civic space from platforms and profit.”
Vanevssa Nakate, Climate Activist
“When Big Tech platforms amplify damaging lies, they stand in the way of climate justice. They must be reined in if we want to save our planet. That’s why I support this 10-point plan.”
Kumi Naidoo, Advisor to the Community Arts Network
“Big Tech’s dominance in our society is becoming a real threat to the lives and rights of us all. The ten points illustrated in this plan identify and address some of the key areas of concern that we should all be aware of. We must urge Big Tech and those in power to put human rights, dignity, and security first.”
Paul Tang, Member of the European Parliament
“This 10-Point Plan is a call of action to all in power in Europe. We must rewrite the false narrative of Big Tech connecting the world and instead change the course of our digital world by reigning them in.”
George Monbiot, journalist
“Our shared reality, our trust, and our privacy are under attack by Big Tech and we need to wake up.”
Aerica Shimizu Banks, Pinterest whistleblower and Founder of Shiso
“I’ve worked on the inside and I know that the tech industry can be a force for good but also for incredible harm. I’m backing this plan because I believe we must come together to shape technology in everyone’s interests: to be anti-racist, non-discriminatory, and inclusive — connecting us and enabling us to cooperate to overcome shared challenges, not dividing us and exacerbating inequities.”
Asma Mhalla, technology and geopolitics expert
“Social media, which initially held the promise of empowerment and connection, has been weaponized, becoming the ultimate battlefield. The future of our liberal democracies, and our fundamental rights, are at stake. This is a historic moment, this early chaotic dawn of the 21st century: we must act now to shape technology for humanity and provide a counterbalance to techno-authoritarian regimes.”
Jean Cattan, Secretary General of the Conseil National du Numérique
“The role of a free and independent press in distinguishing truth from falsehood is a hallmark of our democracies. But quality journalism is being undermined and outpriced by the attention economy, which maximises profit at the expense of democracy, society, and users’ privacy. We need to act now to address its disastrous effects.”