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In late 2020, EveryoneOn undertook a national survey to understand the digital divide during the pandemic. Even at a time of such uncertainty, it was important to look at broadband adoption and digital equity in a deeper way, since investments in digital inclusion were and would continue to be necessary as COVID widened the digital gap, leaving students, seniors and families offline. In the absence of recent research, EveryoneOn, in partnership with the Ballmer Group and Microsoft surveyed income insecure households (less than $50,000 a year) as well as conducted focus groups with individuals and digital inclusion practitioners. Our collective goal was to understand the persistent barriers to adoption and use the findings to inform policies and initiatives that foster digital equity. At the Ballmer Group, addressing barriers to economic mobility for children and families is a priority. When children do not have access to the tools necessary to participate and succeed in school, that is a barrier to economic mobility and resiliency. This is why it is important to understand what is keeping K-12 households unconnected or under connected. We learned in the first report that families cannot afford anything over $100 for a computer, reducing their education and economic opportunities.For Microsoft, the pursuit of racial equity entails addressing digital inequities that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority communities. Lack of access to high-speed and affordable internet service, robust devices and digital skilling opportunities have compounding effects on households, communities and our society. The Microsoft Airband Initiative intends to support cross-sector efforts to address barriers to digital equity.The findings in this third and final report reveal that equity must be at the center of digital inclusion efforts. We must invite diverse leaders, advocates and community anchor organizations to the table not only to provide a clear picture of digital inclusion, but to give them decision-making power about where and how funds should be invested. The recent passage of the Infrastructure and Investments Jobs Act and launch of the Affordable Connectivity Program provide a historic opportunity to create a more equitable and inclusive approach to digital equity. Rulemakings will influence what state and local funding efforts will look like, which has been instrumental for driving broadband adoption. On page 11 of this report, we make recommendations to help inform state and local leaders how to allocate federal funds they secure. The research makes it clear that policy change and investments must be made quickly if we are to prevent sustained educational, economic and social disparities caused by digital inequity. We are committed to ensuring digital equity for all. Will you join us?
Institute for Economics & Peace;
On 24 February 2022, Russia launched an attack on Ukraine. Figure 1 highlights that the invasion comes after a decade of deteriorating relations between Russia, Ukraine and the West.This brief covers several aspects relating to the current Ukrainian war, including the frequency of past acts of terrorism in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia and covers likely future scenarios. It also analyses cyberattacks on Ukraine over the last decade and lead up to the current war.The main finding is that terrorism increases with the intensity of conflict. Both the Georgian conflict in 2008 and the Ukrainian conflict of 2014 saw substantial spikes in terrorist activity around the wars, and as the current war intensifies increased terrorist activity should be expected.Secondly, cyberattacks on Ukraine have markedly increased over the last decade, and especially in the months and weeks leading up to the war. Further, cyberattacks have the potential to unintentionally spill over into other countries because of global connectivity, the effects of which have been seen on numerous occasions. As cyberattacks by nefarious actors are a recent phenomenon, and given the difficulty in the attribution of such attacks, the demarcation between what constitutes a cyberattack, cyber warfare or cyber terrorism are unclear. Regardless, this briefing looks at the broad phenomena of cyberattacks in Ukraine to offer background on recent events.
Open data projects have been in existence for decades, especially as the amount of data stored on computers throughout the world has skyrocketed. Accessibility to that data is at the heart of these efforts, as public and private entities work to make data freely available and useful to the public. Also critical is the role that freely available data in general -- and public or government data in particular — play in accountability and transparency in government, as well as increasing both public participation and public awareness. As one interviewee noted, "Data makes it clear that the earth rotates around the sun — not the sun around the earth. Data can lay plain the places where our worldview needs to change."The Open 990 Project of the Aspen Institute and its partners represents a giant leap forward, providing nonprofits a connected, data-informed future. After only five years, there are compelling examples available from individuals, nonprofits, and collaboratives alike of how the Open 990 Project is seeding and empowering change throughout the nonprofit sector. A large number of websites, projects, researchers, governments, and companies are now using IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF data (hereafter, "990 data") to redesign how they work and how they engage with stakeholders.
Rights x Tech;
The health of our American democracy depends upon equitable and safe digital spaces. This report examines and synthesizes intersectional movements to build better, more inclusive, and humane technologies. It also introduces a set of principles and inclusive frameworks to help platform, product, and policy leaders conceptualize intentional ethical technology that is responsive to the needs of impacted communities and shape meaningful interventions for systems-level shifts at the intersections of technology and human rights. Rights x Tech is a forum and community that explicitly explores the intersections of technology and power. It brings together technologists, policymakers, and movement leaders for dialogue and solution-building on emerging issues around human rights, products, and power.
American Immigration Council;
The passage of the Digital Equity Act of 2021, part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, has added new urgency to state-level efforts to understand digital inclusion and equity gaps among their residents. This year, any state seeking funding through this $2.75 billion federal investment will be required to develop a State Digital Equity Plan, which outlines its approach to addressing these gaps. A central component of each State Digital Equity Plan will be an analysis of the extent to which certain "covered individuals" suffer from gaps in digital inclusion – including access to broadband services, digital devices, and digital literacy skills. This fact sheet provides data to inform policymakers and advocates of the gaps in access to broadband internet among various covered individuals, with the goal to help identify remedies and build a more inclusive, equitable digital future.
Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI);
Accounting standards that are used for tangible assets are not suitable for today's digital economy, which is fuelled by intangible assets. These standards need to reflect the shift in focus from tangible to intangible assets in order for the digital economy to thrive. Intangible assets such as design branding and software are not recognized by current accounting standards unless they are purchased from a third party. Without a shift in mindset that recognizes intangible assets and reflects the new economic reality, challenges will arise in making loans and investments and in taxing value creation. The accounting profession cannot act alone in making the shift and will need support from policy makers and regulators, investors, creditors and directors to make the necessary changes.
Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI);
Many dubbed the Gulf War of 1991 the "first space war" due to the US Armed Forces' extensive use of satellites. The cyberwar in Ukraine, although it is mostly playing out in the shadows, may be remembered as the first space-cyber war.This policy brief makes the case that states should adopt national policies to defend against threats to space-based assets and applications, such as communications satellites, that are both vital to national security and economic security and increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.It is time to explore and identify principles for responsible space-cyber behaviour that would represent a broad multilateral consensus. Identifying these principles may not prevent space-cyber hostilities but could provide "rules of the game."States would also benefit from encouraging a space-cyber security industry that, beyond protecting against space-cyber threats, has the potential to be a significant growth engine.
Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI);
Democracies around the world are facing growing threats to their electoral systems in the digital age. Foreign interference in the form of dis- and misinformation has already influenced the results of democratic elections and altered the course of history. This special report, the result of a research project conducted in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Canada, examines these cyberthreats from a Canadian and German perspective. Both Canada and Germany share common goals centred around protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and international peace and security. Using case studies from experts in fields such as computer science, law and public policy, the special report offers recommendations to guide policy makers and stakeholders on how to protect elections from next-generation technologies and the threats they pose to democracy.
International Forum for Democratic Studies;
From cameras that identify the faces of passersby to algorithms that keep tabs on public sentiment online, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools are opening new frontiers in state surveillance around the world. Law enforcement, national security, criminal justice, and border management organizations in every region are relying on these technologies—which use statistical pattern recognition, machine learning, and big data analytics—to monitor citizens.What are the governance implications of these enhanced surveillance capabilities?This report explores the challenge of safeguarding democratic principles and processes as AI technologies enable governments to collect, process, and integrate unprecedented quantities of data about the online and offline activities of individual citizens. Three complementary essays examine the spread of AI surveillance systems, their impact, and the transnational struggle to erect guardrails that uphold democratic values.In the lead essay, Steven Feldstein, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, assesses the global spread of AI surveillance tools and ongoing efforts at the local, national, and multilateral levels to set rules for their design, deployment, and use. It gives particular attention to the dynamics in young or fragile democracies and hybrid regimes, where checks on surveillance powers may be weakened but civil society still has space to investigate and challenge surveillance deployments.Two case studies provide more granular depictions of how civil society can influence this norm-shaping process: In the first, Eduardo Ferreyra of Argentina's Asociación por los Derechos Civiles discusses strategies for overcoming common obstacles to research and debate on surveillance systems. In the second, Danilo Krivokapic of Serbia's SHARE Foundation describes how his organization drew national and global attention to the deployment of Huawei smart cameras in Belgrade.
This brief maps the financial tools and techniques employed by alt-tech industry leaders like Gab's CEO Andrew Torba, high-profile members of the Proud Boys, and others implicated in the January 6 Capitol attack and the far-right's assault on American democratic institutions. For many in this milieu, Amazon's decision to pull hosting for Parler following the Capitol attack was a clarion call to the need for a parallel web, and prominent players have since flocked to the task of building it.
Journalism is a form of public service, critical to all of us. Unfettered access to verified information is essential for a healthy information ecosystem – essential for democracy. Yet, journalists face threats to their physical safety and online wellbeing, broken revenue models, the closures of local news outlets, and declining trust among readers. Misinformation and disinformation campaigns in the media challenge collective notions of ground truth. They also challenge the bedrock and meaning of an open internet.Now is a critical time to support journalists in their efforts to provide verified information, investigate our shared challenges, and bring essential health, environmental, and political facts to everyone. While Creative Commons (CC) cannot address many of the challenges journalists face, we believe that principles and practices of an open internet can help journalists in some of their public interest work. From crowdsourcing information on open source platforms to using CC licenses to increase access to a particular story–applying open internet practices can help free the flow of critical information to empower journalists and citizens around the world. Before engaging, we needed to understand more about journalists' challenges.In this vein, we initiated the Ground Truth in Open Internet project to better understand journalists' needs through global survey work, focus groups, Q&A discussions and training with journalists, activists and nonprofit news sources. Below, we share methodology and findings from our research and engagement. We learned that journalists around the world face an uncertain future, as they transition away from an old model of funding journalism and face unprecedented challenges. Journalists voiced a need for training and support to harness open internet practices, but such effort must be balanced with new, working revenue models. Most news organizations' current lack of a business model allowing for (1) open access to content and (2) stability and security for content producers obstructs quality journalism. More work is needed to demonstrate how quality journalism can be funded, while keeping it accessible and open to people around the world.
Private messaging platforms like Messenger, Signal, Telegram, WeChat, and WhatsApp are seminal technologies. By assuring private communication on a global scale, these innovations expand and protect democracy as well as our human rights. They have fundamentally reshaped human connection.Omidyar Network believes in the promise of this type of technological innovation. We also believe tools with this depth of political, economic, social, and cultural influence must be held to the highest standards of trustworthiness and safety.For the past three years, we have invested in individuals and organizations that are working to make private messaging platforms more trustworthy (and as a result, safer). We have seen firsthand the pivotal role of private messaging platforms in empowering diverse ideas and social movements. And we have witnessed the inequality, injustice, and trauma that result from risky design choices which preference the technology's scale, virality, and monetization over its users' well-being. To preserve the best qualities of these innovations, all stakeholders must engage in renovating the product designs, policies, and incentives that introduce and increase risk.