Programs & Projects

Digital Threats to Democracy

Digital Threats to Democracy

Once believed to hold the key to the expansion of global democracy, liberalism and a healthy civil society, the internet and digital technologies are now more often framed as threats to advanced and emerging democracies. Social media and other digital technology platforms appear to be contributing factors in global democratic decline.

The Digital Threats to Democracy Project aims to identify and examine intersecting digital threats to democracy, specifically across four key issues: online disinformation, online hate and extremism, tech-enabled foreign interference and regulation of the digital sphere.

As democracies grow more dependent on digital technology, this project seeks to better understand how vulnerabilities in current digital infrastructures have the potential to undermine democratic governance — whether through their design or business models or the way digital technologies are used by average citizens and adverse actors alike.

The Digital Threats to Democracy Project is supported by the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet. The information, advice and/or views expressed in this project are those of the project author/s and participant/s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Lowy Institute or the NSW government.

Experts
Latest publications
News and media
Research Fellow, Transnational Challenges
Web3 is coming – with national security implications, too
Web3 is coming – with national security implications, too
One of the messiest and thorniest national security challenges is how to keep Australians safe from manipulative online content – now, and into the future. The matter cuts across…
WeChat's role in Australian democracy: A grassroots view
Analyses
WeChat's role in Australian democracy: A grassroots view
A new study finds that despite drawbacks, the Chinese messaging app plays a vital role in the democratic participation of Chinese-Australians.
India’s social media crackdown is a challenge to the rules-based order
India’s social media crackdown is a challenge to the rules-based order
It has been an eventful 18-months in the battle between the Modi government in India and foreign technology companies. In February 2021, the Modi government introduced new laws…
Rules Based Audio: What are we getting wrong about online manipulation?
Podcasts
Rules Based Audio: What are we getting wrong about online manipulation?
In this episode of Rules Based Audio, Sasha Fegan talks to Carl Miller about online manipulation, disinformation, misinformation and inauthentic behaviour.
The election for the future of the internet
The election for the future of the internet
In September this year, UN member states will cast their votes for the next secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). While elections for bureaucratic…
Big data and national security: A guide for Australian policymakers
Analyses
Big data and national security: A guide for Australian policymakers
Data abundance, digital connectivity, and ubiquitous technology are redefining national security and the way governments protect individual rights and freedoms. This Analysis…
Podcasts
Lowy Institute Conversations: Stan Grant on identity, liberalism and the future of democracy
In this episode of Conversations, Lydia Khalil talks with Stan Grant on the tensions between identity and liberalism and what that means for the future of democracy
Reports
Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security: Inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia
On 19 February, Lowy Institute Research Fellow Lydia Khalil made a submission to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security inquiry into extremist movements…
Digital Authoritarianism, China and COVID
Analyses
Digital Authoritarianism, China and COVID
The coronavirus has showcased China's cyber-powered social control capabilities, with implications for human rights worldwide.