World Economic Forum Panelist Demands ‘Recalibration’ Of Free Speech.

Just one day into Davos, and we’re already hearing some disturbing things.

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Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman called for a “recalibration” of free speech while speaking on a panel during the opening day of the World Economic Forum, Monday.

Inman discussed the prospect of re-envisaging what freedom of speech means, while speaking on a May 23rd panel for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in Davos focused on “Ushering in a Safer Digital Future.”

Inman, who also served as the Director of Public Policy for Twitter in Australia and South East Asia, explained how “we’re going to have to think about a recalibration of a whole range of human rights”:

“We are finding ourselves in a place where we have increasing polarization everywhere, and everything feels binary when it doesn’t need to be – so I think we’re going to have to think about a recalibration of a whole range of human rights that are playing out online – from freedom of speech, to be free from online violence. Or the right of data protection, to the right of child dignity.”

Prior to running Australia’s Office of the eSafety Commissioner, Inman worked for other big tech companies in addition to Twitter including Microsoft. From 2009 to 2012, she served as the Global Director of Privacy and Internet Safety for the company, which was founded by leading WEF participant Bill Gates.

The scope of operations for Australia’s eSafety Commission appears to be broad, as the board defines its purpose as “help[ing] safeguard all Australians from online harms and to promote safer, more positive online experiences.”

“We prevent online harm by developing resources and programs based on robust evidence; We protect Australians and alleviate harm with our regulatory and reporting schemes; and we are proactive in minimising harms with initiatives that make our digital environments safer and more inclusive,” adds its mission statement.

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Inman’s comments come amidst controversy over the creation of a Disinformation Governance Board at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which was temporarily paused due to the partisanship of its leader Nina Jankowicz. Advisory firms linked to Jankowicz, however, appear to still be receiving federal funds to combat “disinformation.”


Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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