22 June 2024 / 08:11 RU

    As Democracy Summit Ends, U.S. Urges Use Of Technology to Promote Human Rights, Counter Authoritarianism

    The United States wrapped up its second Summit for Democracy on Thursday with Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging democracies to work together to ensure technology is used to promote democratic values and to counter repressive regimes' efforts to use it for dividing citizens and repressing further, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

    “We are pushing back vigorously on authoritarian governments’ increasing use of technology to abuse human rights and undermine democracy,” Blinken said as he spoke before civil society, congressional and private sector leaders.

    Blinken reminded that last September, when the killing of Mahsa Amini by Iran’s security forces sparked months of massive protests, the regime cracked down viciously – killing hundreds of people, imprisoning tens of thousands more, and routinely shutting down the internet.

    In response, the West teamed up with companies and civil society groups to help provide the Iranian people with ongoing access to the internet and other vital communications tools so they could continue to communicate with one another and with the outside world and shine a spotlight on the regime’s abuses.

    "New reforms that we rolled out this week will make it easier for our government to provide similar support for people who are facing digital crackdowns in other countries," Blinken said.

    Blinken identified four priorities to help meet this goal, including using technology to improve people's lives in tangible ways, establishing rights-respecting rules for emerging technologies, investing in innovation, and countering the effects of repressive governments' use of digital tools to abuse citizens and weaken democracies.

    President Joe Biden signed an executive order early this week that prohibits the federal use of commercial spyware that authoritarian governments have used for surveillance.

    During the summit throughout the week, the U.S. joined about a dozen of countries in endorsing an effort to deepen cooperation on countering the misuse of such technology, and a group of 44 in drafting new guiding principles for government use of surveillance technology.

    During his speech, Blinken also reminded that since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February,  businesses and citizens from the U.S. and other democracies have been on the front lines helping Ukraine defend its independence, its right to exist, its very democracy.

    "These volunteers have helped maintain connectivity for Ukrainian Government institutions and citizens, despite the relentless attacks, providing the Ukrainian Government with free access to a secure cloud to store sensitive national databases, helping to counter Moscow’s disinformation campaigns on social media," he said.

    As the Biden administration put it in its statement when the summit opened Tuesday, "Democracy — transparent and accountable government of, for, and by the people — remains the best way to realize lasting peace, prosperity, and human dignity."

    The next democracy summit — the date of which is yet to be announced —  will be hosted by South Korea, to “reflect this effort’s global leadership”, as the White House put it.

    Alex Raufoglu

    Source - Turan.az


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    31 March 2023 / 11:54