The Deteriorating Health of the Digital Information Ecosystem and Its Deleterious Effects on Democracy & Human Rights
While appreciating the benefits of digital platforms for society, this project addresses deleterious effects of digital technologies on the global information ecosystem and negative consequences for democracy. It will identify a spectrum of negative dynamics (e.g., spread of fake news, creation of echo chambers, normalization of hate, reinforcement of stereotypes/bias, facilitation of violent extremism, weaponization of information/doxing, psychographic targeting, information operations) and describe how the combined effect of these dynamics presents an ominous threat to democracy. It will address conceptual challenges posed by globalized digital technology to democratic governance; and provide practical analysis of a range of proposed policies, regulations, and voluntary codes of conduct put forth by governments, private sector platforms and civil society to address these challenges. Key practical concerns include movement by democratic governments toward illiberal regulation and erosion of the core concept of platform immunity from liability which has been essential to free expression. We will convene global governance actors to generate policies that optimize for protection of freedom, security, and democratic discourse. This project will produce educational materials, and help policymakers to identify optimal roles for private sector platforms and democratic governments in the global digitized context, so society can reap the benefits of technology.
Donahoe, E. et al. GDPi Launch Report: A summary of the Lessons Learned and Challenges ahead. February 2018. http://cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu/global-digital-policy-incubator/content/gdpi-launch-conference-report