In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Zoom have firmly entrenched themselves into the daily lives of many and provided core societal functions that have enabled people to work, shop, educate themselves and their children, run businesses, maintain social contact and to receive and disseminate information. At the same time, the pandemic has revealed the deep digital divide associated with these technologies, and also the many risks. An updated and comprehensive international governance architecture is urgently needed to address these risks. Bretton Woods was the Allies’ answer to the financial and social shock of the emerging post-war period. A new Bretton Woods-style agreement is now necessary to enable the world to meet the promise of the new connected age. A modern reboot would provide an opportunity to create a similar institutional framework to manage the world’s digital infrastructure as it recovers from the financial and societal impacts of the current pandemic. The G20 is the obvious body to implement this framework via the creation of a Digital Stability Board just as it did with the creation of the Financial Stability Board in the heart of the Great Financial Crisis.
Research Fellow, ISPI Centre for Business Scenarios