Geneva
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June 13, 2022

1st Participatory Discussions: Geneva

Klea Bogdani

Edgelands was joined by politicians, journalists, privacy advocates, social workers, and experts in technology and society issues to discuss the digitalization of security and the impact of surveillance society in Geneva.

Last week, on May 24th 2022, Edgelands was joined by politicians, journalists, privacy advocates, social workers, and experts in technology and society issues to discuss the digitalization of security and the impact of surveillance society in Geneva. We were also joined by artist Fillipo Buzzini who illustrated the main findings of Edgelands' first participatory discussion in a captivating sketch!

The participatory discussion provided the platform to hear the thoughts of professionals in Geneva regarding some of the main findings featured in Edgelands’ diagnostic report (to be published in June - keep an eye out for it!). The report includes observations from more that 4o participants across Geneva and more broadly, Switzerland.

So, what did we hear?

• On technological dependence… There is an overwhelming dependence on technological tools provided by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft both for the city and Canton of Geneva, as well as for its residents. Participants explained that this is in part due to the absence of any credible alternatives, needing better “rules for the game”, as well as setting the issue higher on the political agenda.

•On knowledge gaps… not only are users frequently unaware of data collection patterns - from the State or from private providers - but the digital tools themselves remain inaccessible for many in Geneva. For those who do have access, difficulties may arise on how to use them in the first place. Participants shared that Ukrainian migrants have mobilized through WhatsApp to share helpful resources and connect in Geneva.

• On digital awareness… there is a lack of discussions surrounding digital security, data collection and surveillance. Participants shared that educating youth on the aforementioned topics is critical, as well as engaging in greater debate on the responsibilities that relevant stakeholder and actors share.

That marks Edgelands’ first round table discussion in Geneva! Keep an eye out for Geneva’s Diagnostic Report coming out on June 22, as well as other participatory discussions happening this week with migrants and the elderly community here in Geneva.

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