The Deteriorating Health of the Digital Information Ecosystem and Its Deleterious Effects on Democracy & Human Rights

Eileen Donahoe, Larry Diamond, Russell Berman, Daphne Keller 2017 - 2018

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.

Publications:
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

Researchers

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Eileen Donahoe

Executive Director, Global Digital Policy Incubator
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Eileen Donahoe

Executive Director, Global Digital Policy Incubator
Eileen Donahoe is Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, where she works to develop global digital policies that address human rights, security and governance challenges. She served as the first US Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, during the Obama Administration. After leaving government, she was Director of Global Affairs at Human Rights Watch where she represented the organization worldwide on human rights foreign policy. Eileen is a member of the World Economic Forum Council on the Future of Human Rights; the University of Essex Advisory Board on Human Rights, Big Data and Technology; the Freedom Online Coalition Working Group on Freedom & Security; and the Benetech Advisory Board. She is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation and an Affiliate at the Center for International Security & Cooperation at Stanford University. Previously, she was a technology litigator at Fenwick & West in Silicon Valley. She holds a BA from Dartmouth, an M.T.S. from Harvard, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, an MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory from GTU at UC Berkeley. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
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Larry Diamond

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution
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Larry Diamond

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution
Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science and Sociology
Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. For more than six years, he directed FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and he continues to lead its programs on Arab Reform and Democracy and Democracy in Taiwan. He is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as Senior Consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. His sixth and most recent book, In Search of Democracy (Routledge, 2016), explores the challenges confronting democracy and democracy promotion, gathering together three decades of his work on democratic development, particularly in Africa and Asia. He has also edited or co-edited more than 40 books on democratic development around the world.
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Russell Berman

Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution and Gregory Amadon Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and Chair of Graduate Studies, German Studies
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Russell Berman

Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution and Gregory Amadon Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and Chair of Graduate Studies, German Studies
Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies
Professor Berman joined the Stanford faculty in 1979. In 1982-83 he was a Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Humanities at Harvard, and in 1988-89 he held an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship in Berlin. In 1997 he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany. Professor Berman is the editor of the journal Telos.
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Daphne Keller

Director of Intermediary Liability
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Daphne Keller

Director of Intermediary Liability
Daphne Keller studies the ways that Internet content platforms – and the laws governing them -- shape information access and other rights of ordinary Internet users. As the Director of Intermediary Liability at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, she has written and spoken widely about the Right to Be Forgotten, copyright notice-and-takedown systems, cross-border content removal orders, platforms’ own discretionary content-removal decisions, and more. She has testified on these topics before legislatures, courts, and regulatory bodies around the world. In her previous role as Associate General Counsel at Google, Daphne worked on cases including Viacom, Perfect 10, Equustek, Mosley, and Metropolitan Schools; and was the primary counsel for products ranging from Web Search to the Chrome browser. Daphne has taught Internet law at Stanford, Berkeley, and Duke law schools. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, and mother to some awesome kids in San Francisco.