A conversation about Inter­operability and building digital public spaces

March 22, 2022

Interoperability is one of the original design principles underpinning the internet, and largely responsible for its scale and unique properties. In recent years, it has also been increasingly seen as a policy measure that can introduce greater market competition and user choice. Important, and contentious interoperability proposals are included in key European digital regulations, including the Digital Markets Act and the Data Act.

On 22 March, we launched our new report, written together with the Commons Network, on “Generative Interoperability. Building online public and civic spaces”For that, we organized an event, hosted by Sophie Bloemen (Commons Network) and Alek Tarkowski (Open Future). Our two guests were Amandine Le Pape (COO and co-founder of Element, co-founder and Guardian of the Matrix Foundation) and Ian Brown (visiting CyberBRICS Professor at FGV Law School).

Both of our guest experts have been advocating for strong interoperability measures. In conversation, we discussed the role that interoperability should play in the digital ecosystems that Europe is building and regulating. And we also explored different means, also non-regulatory, needed to achieve this. 

Interoperability should be a core principle for Europe’s Digital Decade. And not just as a market-fixing tool, but also as a principle that supports societal objectives. 

In our report, we propose to treat interoperability not just as a competition measure, but also as a policy principle that supports the creation of new ecosystems, with a stronger role of public and civic actors. We call this approach generative interoperability

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