Use or misuse? The emerging global challenge of data authoritarianism

16 November 2023 | 6:00 - 7:30 pm | IDOS, Tulpenfeld 6, 53113 Bonn

With the rise of digital economies and digital innovations, issues surrounding data are becoming increasingly important in public debates around the world. While new challenges have emerged regarding data misuses in the past years, the political, legal and multilateral responses have been lagging, partly due to the complexity of these new phenomena. Examples of use and misuse of power abound, ranging from new forms of digital repression, surveillance and propaganda, to small- and large-scale disinformation, not to mention foreign interference in national elections and politics at large. Against this backdrop, this year’s Megatrends lecture, jointly organized by CASSIS Bonn, EADI and IDOS/Megatrends Afrika, investigates the central links between the growing digitalisation of the economy and the rising threats to public, civil and political freedom. It will start by providing a broad picture of the links between rapid digitalisation and civil liberties in India and sub-Saharan Africa, before exploring the different ways states operationalise surveillance to control information and citizens, either through blunt shutdowns of the internet, targeted digital repression or election manipulation. It will then explore how those dynamics can be accentuated through the involvement of foreign actors, be they states or corporations, with a view to organise disinformation campaigns or to facilitate surveillance.

VA 16.11 Use or misuse? The emerging global challenge of data authoritarianism


Opening remarks:
Andy Sumner
EADI President King's College, London 

Axel Berger
Deputy Director, German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) 

Sangeeta Mahapatra
German Institute for Global and Area Studies, GIGA 

Ennatu Domingo
European Centre for Development Policy Management, ECDPM 

Iginio Gagliardone
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, WITS 

Basile Boulay

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