The Future of Internet Freedom: Policy and Priorities in the New Administration

Date and Time

February 11, 2021, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST

Location

Virtual Event

The Future of Internet Freedom: Policy and Priorities in the New Administration was the second webinar in a series focusing on global internet freedom. This session centered around the supply side, specifically the funding of internet freedom, the organizations tasked with advancing it, what should be prioritized, and how projects should be implemented. The panelists recognized censorship and blockage, propaganda, and surveillance as threats to internet freedom, as they control and limit the narrative the public is presented with. 

In order to combat these obstacles, exploited communities need to be provided with resources to find and gather reliable information. Internally, the United States government needs greater evaluation of funds to ensure their long-term efficiency, more research to support well-informed policymaking, international collaboration, an increase in communication between government agencies working towards similar goals, faster deployment of contracts, and action to help more marginalized groups become involved in the grant process. Privacy legislation, protection of encryption, and net neutrality were deemed priorities for the Biden Administration, 

Furthermore, to supplement technical developments in support of global internet freedom, such as investment in satellite internet technology and VPNs, work with local communities, public input, and digital literacy mindfulness are necessary in cultivating the trust required to ensure that these resources are actually implemented. Lastly, when promoting internet freedom, governments should also consider developing global legislation for tech companies and providing local reliable media outlets throughout the world.

Co-presented by American University Governance Lab, American University School of Education, American University School of International Service, Voices of Internet Freedom, and ISOC-DC.

 

Panelists: 

  • Mung Chiang, Dean of the Engineering School at Purdue University, Former Science and Technology Advisor for the United States Secretary of State
  • Clara Tsao, President of the Board of The White House Presidential Innovation Fellows Foundation, Former Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Homeland Security
  • Maziar Bahari, Award-Winning Film Producer, President of Journalism for Change
  • Harlo Holmes, Director of Digital Security at the Freedom of the Press Foundation
  • Mallory Knodel, Chief Technology Officer for the Center for Democracy and Technology 
  • Sarah Makin, Former Deputy Assistant to the President, Senior Director for Strategic Engagement at the National Security Council
  • Eric Novotny, American University School of International Service (Moderator)
  • Aram Sinnreich, American University School of Communication (Moderator)