Ambition Numérique in English

France Launches Plan for Digital

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This month, France announced the publication of its “Ambition Numérique”, an impressive collective work on thoughts for the country’s digital future. Recognizing that this was a dense, rich subject that was impossible for one single person or entity to review, the country opted for a totally collaborative approach. The ambitious project was started last year, and in the end included contributions from 17,678 people.  A diverse group of people participated countrywide: academics, organizations with an interest in the Internet, students, and volunteers from the general public. It was a very inclusive process, where ideas were put forth, digested, and anyone could suggest improvements. What came out of these months of work? A total of 70 propositions based upon 4 axis, which are meant to act as guidelines for either creating new laws, or for integration into European strategies overall. We have translated the main points of the Ambition Numérique in English for you below.

The propositions are divided into 4 themes, as follows:

1. Digital loyalty and liberty in a common space
2. Towards a new conception of public action: openness, innovation, participation
3. Move French growth towards an economy of innovation
4. Solidarity, justice, emancipation: issues in a digital society

The recommendations across these themes, cover three main points: 1) growth and innovation 2) rights and freedoms, and 3) social issues and modernization. The project was a conscious effort to take notice and take charge of the rapid growth of the Internet which has grown relatively unchecked for the past 20 years. To paraphrase Benoit Thieulin, this project was done to “Bring France up to date, so that the country can better meet the digital challenges and progress even farther in the longterm.” 

Thus the push toward innovation is not only meant to encourage new economic opportunities and close the digital divide. France and Europe have of course taken note that the Internet giants (namely Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon [i.e. GAFA]) are growing more powerful with each day. Thus, France’s efforts also touch on the issue of net neutrality and preventing monopolization of the Internet. 

The Ambition Numérique is a reflection on how digital affects every area of our lives, and the consequences of rights, access, and power, in relation to the myriad dimensions it reaches: health, social inclusion, justice, public involvement, and educational tools. The fact that digital has become so intertwined with these layers of our day-to-day, means that it’s time we give it serious reflection. 

Ambition Numérique is a reservoir of ideas that public actors can use to take action. The French philosophy, “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” permeates every recommendation given. Throughout the guidelines, the belief in disruptive innovation, individual liberty, awareness of rights, and power over one’s own life are all apparent.

The document has not yet been translated into English, so we have given it a go for you below. See for yourself what you think of these declarations.  (Each is explained in full detail in the official document, in French).

Ambition Numérique in English

Part 1 – Digital loyalty and liberty in a common space

Internet is a common good

1. Affirm the principle of Net Neutrality
2. Preserve and strengthen a part of the spectrum for collective use
3. Protect fundamental liberties through a renewed commitment to Internet governance

The right to self-determined information

4. Favor individual management and usage of personal data
5. Create a collective action for protection of personal data

Transparent and reliable platforms

6. Honor the principle of transparent platforms
7. Provide quality and timely information
8. Assure the reliability of algorithms designed for personalization, ranking, and referencing
9. Reliability among economic actors: preserve a space conducive to innovation
10. Adapt institutional design

Reaffirm the rule of law

11. Illegal content: Support the judge’s role in blocking sites
12. Redefine the balance of power and the platform’s role in the removal of illicit content
13. Legal security framework: align efficiency respecting both public and individual liberties
14. Protect whistleblowers
15. Promote the encryption of personal data, increase safety measures
16. Reform national records of digital fingerprints and DNA
17. Engage against the exportation of surveillance technologies and Internet censorship in authoritarian regimes

Part 2 – Towards a new conception of public action:
openness, innovation, participation

18. Give new impetus to shift public actions towards digital

Work toward an open government

19. Develop collaboration in public policy
20. Reinforce the transparency and traceability of decision-making processes
21. Develop new evaluation methods of public policy

Develop digital public services within a trusted framework, adapted to usage

22. Evaluate user experience to improve public services
23. Develop digital public mediation
24. Regulate the usage and exchange of personal data held by administrations
25. Promote the creation of personal digital environments to visualise processses and store administrative documents

Set new goals for the strategy of opening public databases

26. Opt for the opening of public databases that are free-of-charge
27. Promote the development and the coordination of strategies to open public databases
28. Reconsider the right of access to administrative documents, in regards to the opening of public databases
29. Encourage on a case-by-case basis the sharing of information by economic actors and civil society, making sure to respect fundamental rights and balance of interests among all interested parties

Diffuse a culture of innovation at the heart of public service 

30. Improve digital literacy of public officials
31. Develop collaborative practices and sharing of experience
32. Better assist and manage the public through data. Orient public management towards the promotion of innovation

Part 3 – Move French growth towards an economy of innovation

The Imperative of flexible innovation

33.  Adopt a European definition of innovation
34. A better interaction between businesses and the academic world: open education to innovation, diversify recruitment and develop collaborative research
35. Adapt social dialogue and corporate governance to digital issues
36. Offer a framework to partners and businesses that is supportive to innovation
37. Strengthen the public administration’s digital agenda to support innovation
38. Adjust fiscal measures to the needs of innovators
39. Frame the industrial strategy of France with regard to open innovation

Redesign the financial structure for an innovation-based economy

40. Expand sources of financing for an innovation-based economy
41. Deploy a European network of marketplaces with digital and innovative values

The urgency of international competitiveness

42. Strengthen territorially and sectorally the digital ecosystems
43. Structure a network of digital European ecosystems
44. Intensify the strategy for French digital attractiveness among international digital actors
45. Facilitate international development of innovative enterprises
46. Embody French digital diplomacy

Part 4 – Solidarity, justice, emancipation: issues in a digital society

Collaborative economy

47. Improve our understanding of activities and statutes bringing economic, social, and environmental value, including those outside of the classic market
48. Encourage a collaborative economy, while regulating it
49. Increase visibility and usher in a contributory economy favoring social cohesion and innovation

Digital and the common good

50. Encourage community development in society
51. Define a policy to gather the product contents by community and public actors
52. Positively define, without exception, the public domain and favor its growth
53. Make open publications a legal obligation for research benefitting public funds

Inclusive digital society

54. Value and structure digital mediation work
55. Develop digital mediation in local public services
56. Make Internet access and its essential resources an effective right

Support systems

57. Support digital facilitation of access to and use of social services
58. Develop (and debate) preventive and anticipatory capacities, with respect to private lives of the insured
59. Explore new ways to put support in motion and to recognize the actors

Digital health

60. Acknowledge and record a right to self-determined information and health
61. Encourage on a case-by-base basis the economic actors and health data holders to share their information or collaborate while taking into account their competitive nature
62. Use momentum/growth to permit the general public to understand the public health challenges and to become actors working toward a solution
63. Train health professionals on the issues of digital health

Education and training

64. Push forward and clarify the educational exception for a better framework with digital usage
65. Anticipate changes in certifications
66. Pass from equipment logic to environmental logic

Digital justice

67. Strengthen digital access to judicial information
68. Computerize the daily judicial functioning
69. Encourage alternative styles of dispute settlements

Digital ethics

70. Educate on ethical questions in digital society

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