The U.S. will helm the chairship position at the Freedom Online Coalition, focusing on promoting digital liberties and enforcing AI standards and safeguards.
For the duration of 2023, the U.S. will helm the chairship of the Freedom Online Coalition, a group of 35 governments focused on promoting digital civil liberties, marking the first time the U.S. has led the organization since its formation in 2011.
The U.S. State Department announced the U.S.'s selection for the chairship back in June 2022, and confirmed its official assumption of the position on Wednesday. The agency reiterated its priority areas for its year in leadership, including protecting civil freedoms online, combatting digital authoritarianism—such as surveillance and censorship—and, notably, enforcing safeguards surrounding artificial intelligence.
Forthcoming policies related to artificial intelligence are broadly related to introducing global standards for AI use.
“Through our leadership of this coalition, we intend to focus on…advancing norms, principles and safeguards regarding the development and use of artificial intelligence,” a State Department spokesperson confirmed Nextgov.
According to the 2023 FOC Program of Action, its focus on AI will ensure the technology’s usage is compliant with human rights. The organization notes that part of its goals include collaborating with other similar mission-driven cohorts, namely the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence.
Other goal areas include protection of online freedoms and strengthening digital inclusion.
The U.S. was a founding member of the FOC, along with the Netherlands—which held the first meeting—and other member countries, including Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The coalition has since added 24 additional member nations.