Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab Launches Democracy + Tech Initiative
Initiative to advance digital agenda focused on human rights and democratic values; programing kicks off with high-profile event featuring Katherine Maher on June 22.
Initiative to advance digital agenda focused on human rights and democratic values; programing kicks off with high-profile event featuring Katherine Maher on June 22
WASHINGTON, DC – June 17, 2021 – The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) today announced the launch of the Democracy & Tech Initiative, a landmark new effort that will advance an affirmative agenda for a rights-respecting digital world. The Initiative is led by Rose Jackson, a former tech CEO and diplomat with more than 15 years of experience strengthening human rights and democracy globally. “We are facing the greatest challenge to universal rights since the Cold War. How we build and govern technology will determine whether those striving to win and preserve the freedoms of expression and self-determination have a global community at their back, or in their way,” said Jackson. “I’m excited to launch the Democracy & Tech Initiative at the DFRLab, connecting the disparate domestic and international policy communities necessary to build a more cohesive vision for the digital world.” The Initiative builds on the DFRLab’s established track record and leadership in the open-source investigatory field, empowering global communities to promote transparency and accountability online and on the ground. “Rose Jackson is a tremendous colleague and leader with deep experience driving policy, building technology, and working with activists around the world,” said Graham Brookie, Director of the DFRLab. “Her unique set of experiences makes her the perfect person to advance our mission and connect siloed yet interdependent communities necessary to ensuring technology bolsters, rather than undermines, free and open societies.”
Putting Human Rights and Democracy at the Center
The Democracy & Tech Initiative examines how the tech that connects and informs people is funded, built, and governed, and how that affects the viability of rights-respecting and democratic societies around the world. Connective technologies are ubiquitous in modern life, and the ways in which governments use, promote, and regulate them is central to the global order. As many nations embrace an increasingly forceful authoritarian approach to these issues, the need for a powerful, coherent, and actionable democratic approach has never been greater.
The Initiative is designed to:
- Center human rights and democracy in tech and policy debates;
- Shape what happens next by looking beyond the current tech and democracy flash points;
- Ensure decisions about global technology include equities and stakeholders around the world;
- Connect and align siloed communities and issues in government, industry, and civil society; and
- Elevate a new generation of diverse leaders with crosscutting expertise to shape policy and industry outcomes.
Diverse Coalition of Policy, Human Rights, and Research Experts Unite to Drive Change
The Democracy & Tech Initiative has brought together a world class cohort of nonresident fellows with crosscutting expertise, all dedicated to the mission of ensuring a more equitable and rights-respecting world. They are the embodiment of the Initiative’s approach, driving insight and action as a combined community, representing the diversity and professional experience necessary to create lasting change. The cohort includes AI experts, human rights advocates, scholars on China, former government officials and diplomats, leaders in companies seeking to address online harms, and former tech executives.
For a full list of nonresident fellows please click here.
Launch Event During 360/Open Summit Virtual Conference – June 22
The Democracy & Tech Initiative will formally kick off its programming on Tuesday, June 22 at 9:45 AM ET during the DFRLab’s 360/Open Summit: The World in Motion, with an Atlantic Council Front Page event featuring NBC News’ Brandy Zadrozny in conversation with DFRLab Nonresident Senior Fellow and former Wikimedia CEO, Katherine Maher.For more on the launch event visit here. To register for 360/OS click here.The Democracy & Tech Initiative is based on the Atlantic Council’s stated commitment to constructive leadership working with friends and allies, bolstering democracy, and navigating complex global challenges. For inquiries about the Democracy & Tech Initiative or to reach Rose Jackson, please email DFRLab@AtlanticCouncil.org.