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Africa Technology and infrastructure

Fake News, Soft Authoritarianism and Challenges to Digital Democracy in Africa

On 27 December 2020, voters headed to the polls across the Central African Republic, one of the continent’s most fragile democracies. The elections were overshadowed by violence as covert disinformation campaigns, waged from Paris and Moscow, sought to inflame communal tensions across the fractured country. Facebook subsequently released a statement, claiming that the platform had removed multiple networks of ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’ traced back to the French and Russian militaries whose influence extended far beyond the Central African Republic, encompassing over a dozen African countries, from Algeria to Cameroon. However, this latest incident represents merely the tip of the iceberg of the far more pervasive and increasingly widespread challenge posed by the proliferation of digital media across the continent’s fledgling democracies.  

Politics Technology and infrastructure

The United States, Section 230, and Big Tech

There has been increasing bipartisan scrutiny over how to regulate Big Tech, and one prominent issue is whether to repeal Section 230 which gives social media companies sweeping immunity over the content published on their sites. With growing pressure to mitigate the risks posed by social media, it is worth considering why Section 230 is important, the risks associated with the repeal, and the likelihood something will happen in the new administration.

Asia Pacific Technology and infrastructure

A Neglected Frontier: Challenges to Japan’s Cyber Security

2020’s SolarWinds cyberattack, which affected numerous US government agencies, underscores the growing relevance of IT security and cyber-crime to national governments. Not solely the work of individual criminals, crimes perpetrated by state-sponsored or entirely state-operated hacker groups have increasingly been alleged. With cyberspace growing in importance as a frontier of political contestation, states must act; what steps has Japan been taking, and what barriers are there to enhancing Japan’s cybersecurity?

Europe Technology and infrastructure

UK Government Announces New National Cyber Force

Recently, the UK government announced its plans to take more offensive steps in its approach to cybersecurity. The announcement is further evidence of a gradually emerging trend exhibited by nation states: an increasing openness about their offensive cyber operations. This behaviour is likely to become the norm as many of the motivators for such an offensive stance — hybrid warfare, cyber espionage, and disinformation campaigns –only continue to grow.

China Technology and infrastructure

China and the Semiconductor Industry: What to Expect Under the Biden Administration

In recent years, China has tried to gain more independence. It can safely be said that, In the last decade, China has developed new technology in every sector, and is

Technology and infrastructure Under The Radar

The Wrong Way to Combat Internet Disinformation

By Christopher Carson On June 25th, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan approved a controversial piece of legislation titled “On Manipulating Information”, designed to combat disinformation spread online. The bill received widespread

Technology and infrastructure Under The Radar

Under the Radar: The 5G Spat in the Balkans

The US Presidency will finally shift in Joe Biden’s hand come January 2021. Yet, there is a fil rouge that connects Barack Obama’s tenure to the current and future foreign-policy orientation of the US, especially vis-à-vis China. The struggle against China is not set to fade in the foreseeable future. Banning Huawei from servicing Western countries’ 5G infrastructure has been a key part of this antagonism. A group of Balkan capitals have just sided with Washnington in its feud with Beijing. However, should the US be concerned about these countries’ economic ties with Beijing undermining their commitment to the common cause?

China Technology and infrastructure

China’s Technological Self-Reliance Ambitions: Updates from the Fifth Plenum

[Article by Josh Bramble.] Beijing has long focused on self-reliance in technological innovation as a goal to mitigate dependence on foreign firms. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s Fifth

Europe Technology and infrastructure

France: Towards stronger counter-terrorism regulation online

A terror attack on the outskirts of Paris that led to the beheading of a middle school teacher has emboldened President Macron’s efforts to impose harsher legislation on social media. Broadening the scope of user-generated content online is likely to affect the European Commission’s ambitious Digital Services Act, and thus the global digital fight against terrorism.

Europe Technology and infrastructure

HS2: Steadfast Progress or Slam the Brakes?

February 1, 2020: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that a high-speed rail link through the centre of England will be built, admitting it was a ‘controversial and difficult decision’. Behind schedule and over budget, the return on investment from this planned rail network is increasingly in doubt under the UK’s current economic conditions.