Building Strong Partnerships for Digital Diplomacy and Cyber Defenseby@whitehouse
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Building Strong Partnerships for Digital Diplomacy and Cyber Defense

by The White HouseMay 14th, 2024
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Strong partnerships with the private sector and civil society are crucial for digital diplomacy, cybersecurity, and Internet governance. Public-private collaborations drive innovation, protect digital rights, and defend against cyber threats, highlighting the significance of inclusive approaches in shaping a secure and open digital ecosystem.
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You can jump to any part of the United States International Cyberspace & Digital Policy Strategy here. This part is 9 of 38.

Working with the Private Sector and Civil Society

Competition, consumer choice, vibrant private sector investment, and a robust civil society are the hallmarks of an open, inclusive, and secure digital ecosystem. The Department of State cannot accomplish its objectives without strong partnerships with the private sector, civil society, academic, and technical communities. New innovations spring from the private sector, and the decisions tech companies make on how their systems are developed and deployed have profound implications for how U.S. values and interests are realized—including protecting users’ safety and privacy. U.S. officials rely on a range of private sector, academic, and civic actors for insights into technology developments, and private sector and trade association stakeholders often provide early warning of discriminatory regulations that explicitly target American companies. Trusted technology suppliers, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, are essential partners in efforts to expand connectivity through open, secure, and resilient networks across the globe.

Civil society groups are working to ensure that individuals can access and pursue opportunities online free from unlawful surveillance and privacy-invasive data collection practices and are working to counter harmful propaganda and disinformation in digital spaces. Civil society and the technical community are often the first to recognize, warn of, and seek solutions to threats to human rights online and offline. As Internet freedom continues to decline in parts of the world, civil society activists, human rights defenders, and the journalists covering their activism are often leading the push back in digitally repressive societies, often at great personal risk. Additionally, civil society, the academic and technical community, and private sector actors play a crucial role in upholding the multistakeholder model of Internet governance, which is increasingly under threat.

The private sector, civil society, and the technical community are essential in helping defend against malicious cyber activities. In 2022, the private sector aided Albania in the wake of Iranian cyberattacks and, during Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, technology firms and cybersecurity companies provided services, tools, and threat intelligence to help Ukraine defend government and critical infrastructure networks. They migrated data storage and cloud hosting services to counteract Russian efforts to erase critical data and provided Internet and telecommunication services that helped keep government agencies and businesses operating. Non-governmental organizations and academic research groups have exposed the threat posed by the proliferation and misuse of commercial spyware against journalists, activists, and marginalized groups.

Public-private partnerships are essential to cyber and digital diplomacy, and they need to be flexible and adaptable. Cyber defense may require new ways to scale, supply, and license cyber defense services and products in a crisis and may be difficult to launch and sustain in a different regional context. Repressive governments are developing new methods to control digital technologies and to manipulate and interfere with information flows. To address these and other evolving challenges, the Department of State will continue to expand contact with and solicit input from a wide range of civil society and private sector actors. In addition, the United States will continue to work with allies and partners to advance a multistakeholder approach to digital and data governance.

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This post was originally published on May 6, 2024, by the U.S Department of State