Big Tech and the Battle Against IlliberalismThe National Interest
It’s time for the United States to wake up to the global challenges ahead, and the rivalry between liberal Western values and growing illiberal threats.
Over the past few years, the European Union has taken an aggressive posture on tech regulation, targeting large U.S. tech firms and showing little regard for the global implications of their approach. Now, Congress is working on its own framework for regulating the tech industry. This week, former national security, defense, and intelligence leaders sent an open letter to Congress urging lawmakers to consider the global security implications of current tech legislation pending on Capitol Hill.
The letter—signed by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, among others—focused on the “battle brewing between authoritarianism and democracy.” The open letter reads in part:
We call on the congressional committees with national security jurisdiction … to conduct a review of any legislation that could hinder America’s key technology companies in the fight against cyber and national security risks emanating from Russia’s and China’s growing digital authoritarianism … It is imperative that the United States avoid the pitfalls of its key allies and partners, such as the European Union (EU).
In recent years, the threat of digital authoritarianism and the cyber capabilities of U.S. adversaries have grown significantly. Authoritarian regimes like Russia and China are increasingly turning to digital tools as a means to repress their own populations, gain influence abroad, and challenge their international competitors. Russian cyberattacks and digital disinformation campaigns against Ukraine are only the latest examples.
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