U.S. DOD Can Counter Digital Authoritarianism with New Technologies

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Program Manager Dr. Joshua Baron wrote recently in Defense One on the opportunity the United States has to counter digital authoritarianism by proliferating technologies that enable global digital freedom. In “Fight Digital Authoritarianism by Giving People the Tools to Counter It,” Baron says the Department of Defense should move quickly to counter authoritarian regimes by investing in and fostering the development of technologies that “provide privacy, guarantee digital/internet freedom, and promote publicly available tools to counter influence campaigns.”

Information-related research and development efforts could produce the following effects:

  • Awareness effects to create knowledge of what threats may exist in a given environment and the effects and implications of those threats (e.g., specific risk to individuals or missions).
  • Degradation effects to reduce the value of data collected or in the capability or capacity of data processing and/or exploitation.
  • Denial effects to prevent the unwanted collection or exploitation of relevant data.
  • Deception effects to enable the delivery or manipulation of data for misleading purposes.
  • Defeat effects to neutralize a collection or processing capability or capacity.

Other research and development proposals offered by Baron include ways to counter artificial intelligence-enabled surveillance and the creation of rapid counter-censorship messaging algorithms and software that discovers adversary-censored topics and modifies desired messages to remain uncensored, disrupting adversary censorship efforts.

Read more at Defense One here.