How to win the information contest – without shedding democratic values


Democratic governments should use the diplomatic and economic tools at their disposal to impose costs that might deter authoritarian regimes from conducting manipulative information operations, recognizing that deterrence alone will not be sufficient, argues Jessica Brandt, Policy Director of the AI and Emerging Technology Initiative at the Brookings Institution. When it comes to Russia, this could include leveraging the strength of Western financial institutions, on which the Kremlin’s network of kleptocrats are largely reliant, to target the regime’s financial assets, she writes in a Carnegie PCIO policy proposal:

Such an approach might also entail using cyber capabilities where appropriate, and within existing authorities, to undercut the ability of authoritarian regimes to conduct information operations—as U.S. Cyber Command reportedly did ahead of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, when it temporarily took Russia’s Internet Research Agency offline, and again last year, when it deployed teams abroad to learn how adversaries might target the 2020 election. The United States in particular could build on this approach by pursuing a broad effort within the Treasury Department to prioritize tracking down graft hidden in Western financial markets, including by publishing a National Corruption Risk Assessment, focusing on kleptocracies and their oligarchs. RTWT

The U.S. State Department is supporting the development of the elective course called “Information and (Dis)information,” with technical support from Lupa Education, Palavra Aberta Institute – Educamídia, and Rio’s Technology and Society Institute. The course is an initiative from Politize!, a civil society group that works to form mindful citizens committed to democracy, by training them to be able to combat disinformation and the dissemination of fake news. RTWT

On Thursday, July 29, Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR), and Issue One hosted a discussion (above) on the subject of ‘Disinformation & Democracy,’ featuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, COO Gabriel Sterling, Facebook VP of Global Affairs & Communications Sir Nick Clegg, NewsGuard Co-CEO Steven Brill, Stanford Internet Observatory’s Renée DiResta, and NPR White House Correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, moderated by former CNN correspondent Jeanne Meserve.

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