The same digital technologies that connect people and enable a free exchange of ideas are used by malign actors to polarize and subvert the politics of democratic societies. At home, authoritarians are harnessing these technologies to deepen their grip internally and undermine basic human rights. Abroad, they seek to spread their illiberal practices beyond their borders and erode public trust in open societies. If left unchecked, authoritarian regimes may eventually outperform democracies in suborning new technologies to advance their political goals, heightening the likelihood that democracy could lose a twenty-first century ideological competition. The Digital Freedom Initiative is dedicated to identifying solutions to protect digital democracy in the United States and abroad. It aims to preserve the integrity and value of technologies for free citizens and help defeat their abuse by malign actors.
The Digital Freedom Initiative is one line of effort in the Center-wide initiative on Countering High-Tech Illiberalism. It is informed by the Digital Freedom Forum, which is co-chaired by former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, and former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nicole Wong. The Forum is a venue for former policymakers, private sector leaders (including representatives from major tech companies), academic experts, and members of civil society, to identify solutions to empower digital freedom.
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