Technology governance is beset by the challenges of how regulation can keep pace with rapid digital transformation, how governments can regulate in a context of deep knowledge asymmetry, and how policymakers can address the transnational nature of technology.
Keeping pace with, much less understanding, the implications of digital platforms and artificial intelligence for societies is increasingly challenging as technology becomes more sophisticated and yet more ubiquitous.
To overcome these obstacles, there is an urgent need to move towards a more anticipatory and inclusive model of technology governance. There are some signs of this in recent proposals by the European Union (EU) and the UK on the regulation of online harms.… Seguir leyendo »
Freedom of expression was subject to significant restrictions in Asia even before the pandemic, with several governments having enacted laws that stifle online debate. But since COVID-19, restrictions have increased even further due to a rash of so-called ‘emergency measures’ introduced by governments across the region.
Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam have all put new laws into place, and many restrictions are already being applied in a draconian fashion, such as in the Philippines and Bangladesh.
As outlined in a new Chatham House research paper, one inspiration behind this trend is China, home to the world’s most sophisticated and restrictive system of internet control.… Seguir leyendo »
Robust civic space is essential for good governance, the rule of law and for enabling citizens to shape their societies. However, civil society space around the world is under significant pressure and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this situation.
The weakening of international institutions and democratic norms worldwide has resulted in fewer constraints on autocracies. Meanwhile, the rise of nationalism, populism and illiberalism is taking its toll on civil liberties.
The private sector is in a unique position to work with civil society organizations to uphold and defend civic freedoms and support sustainable and profitable business environments. Companies have the capacity, resources and expertise to enhance the protection of civic space.… Seguir leyendo »
The ‘deplatforming’ of Donald Trump – including Twitter’s announcement that it has permanently banned him due to ‘the risk of further incitement of violence’ after the riots in the US – shows once more not only the sheer power of online platforms but also the lack of a coherent and consistent framework for online content governance.
Taking the megaphone away from Trump during the Capitol riots seems sensible, but was it necessary or proportionate to ban him from the platform permanently? Or consistent with the treatment of other ‘strongmen’ world leaders such as Modi, Duterte and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who have overseen nationalistic violence but whose accounts remain intact?… Seguir leyendo »
In America, business leaders are no strangers to elections, whether contributing to and endorsing candidates, or trying to influence positions that may translate into policy. But the electoral process itself and its outcomes were largely taken for granted until the recent presidential election, when many felt compelled to make unprecedented statements supporting first the process, and then the outcome.
But can such a strong response by business to the pressures on the society in which they operate go further in 2021, and translate into action in support of civil society space at a time when it is fast deteriorating around the world?… Seguir leyendo »
In discussions to date about how international law applies in cyberspace, commentators have tended to focus their attention on how the rules on the use of force, or the law of armed conflict, apply to cyber activities conducted by states that give rise to physical damage, injury or death.
But in practice, the vast majority of state cyberattacks fall below this threshold. Far more common are persistent, low-level attacks that may leave no physical trace but that are capable of doing significant damage to a state’s ability to control its systems, often at serious economic cost.
Such cyber incursions might include network disruptions in the operation of another government’s websites; tampering with electoral infrastructure to change or undermine the result; or using cyber means to destabilize another state’s financial sector.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s adherence to the rules-based international system is selective, prioritizing certain rules in favour of others. States supportive of that ‘system’ – or, as some argue, systems – should identify areas of mutual strategic interest so that they can draw China further into the global rules-based order and leverage China as a constructive player that potentially also contributes to improvements in such areas. This is particularly apposite at a time when the US is in retreat from multilateralism and Russia seems bent on disrupting the rules-based international order.
There are many reasons for actively engaging with China on mutual areas of interest.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s involvement in UN peacekeeping contributions has been on the rise for some time. China is also stepping up its own military and security operations abroad to protect its commercial and strategic interests, particularly in Africa. In doing so, China is exposing itself to a more complex set of issues – including international legal issues – with which it is only just starting to grapple.
China’s contribution to UN peacekeeping over the last 10 years has expanded dramatically. In September 2016, it pledged $1 billion to help fund UN peace, security and development activities, while in 2018 it supplied 10.3 per cent of the UN peacekeeping budget, up from 3.93 per cent in 2012.… Seguir leyendo »
As polar ice melts, the Arctic will become increasingly important for its untapped oil, gas and minerals as they become more accessible, as well for its shipping routes, which will become increasingly cost efficient for cargo as parts of the routes become ice-free for extended periods.
A number of countries, including Russia and China, are also exploring the possibilities around overflights, commercial fishing, the laying of submarine cables and pipelines, and scientific research.
Earlier this month, China announced the launch of its first domestically built conventionally-powered polar icebreaker, Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2. Like its (foreign-built) predecessor,Snow Dragon, this vessel’s purpose is framed as scientific research into polar ice coverage, environmental conditions, and biological resources.… Seguir leyendo »
The UK has been working towards building its offensive cyber capability since 2013, as part of its approach to deter adversaries and to deny them opportunities to attack, both in cyberspace and in the physical world. But reports that the government considered an offensive cyberattack as part of its response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury on 4 March have brought the issue of whether and when offensive cyber operations would be justified under international law to the fore.
Under international law, a state is entitled to take countermeasures for breaches of international law against it that are attributable to another state.… Seguir leyendo »
Cooperation among states for the purposes of armed conflict and counterterrorism is increasingly commonplace. In Syria, for example, and in Iraq’s battle with ISIS, various coalitions of states operate behind the scenes, providing each other with a range of support and assistance, often under the radar. Assistance may be operational (embedded soldiers, the supply of weapons, the provision of military bases), but equally may take the form of technical, logistical or financial support. States also increasingly assist one another in counterterrorism situations, for example through the provision of training or intelligence.
The provision of such assistance has legal ramifications. What if, for example, that assistance contributes to a breach of international law?… Seguir leyendo »