A Policy Brief from the Brookings Institute is concerned with “digital authoritarianism” — the use of digital information technology by authoritarian regimes to surveil, repress, and manipulate domestic and foreign populations. It says that China and Russia have developed and exported distinct technology-driven playbooks for authoritarian rule. This policy brief examines the development and export of both the Chinese and Russian models. The authors recommend that the US and other democracies should tighten export controls on technologies that advance digital authoritarianism, sanction regimes engaging in digital authoritarianism and firms that supply them, develop a competitive democratic model of digital governance with a code of conduct, and increase public awareness around information manipulation, including funding educational programmes to build digital critical thinking skills among youth.
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