In April 2022, a report by the investigative news outlet Inside Story revealed that the Greek financial journalist and editor Thanasis Koukakis had been targeted by "Predator" spyware. Manufactured by Cytrox, the spyware infects a target's cellphone by delivering a one-time "phishing" link, enabling the operator to monitor every aspect of the cellphone's use. Google and CitizenLab have asserted that the spyware has been primarily bought by government-backed actors. Such technology, and its ever-widening use, is emblematic of the contemporary prevalence of digital repression as a way to monitor, control and coerce forms of political and social opposition.
The contributors to this serialised e-book argue that ICTs are tools which can be used for both virtuous and wicked purposes. As such, its essays investigate different dimensions of digital repression in order to understand how and why governments employ repressive digital tactics. While autocrats more widely employ digital repression, it is paramount to understand that democracies also use repressive digital tactics for various reasons. By looking at a range of regime types, this volume increases policymakers' and researchers' understanding of the topic, and underlines the threat that digital repression poses to internet freedom and democracy around the globe.
Written by a group of the world's leading academic and policy experts, this forensic exposition of "digital repression" proceeds along four core themes. The first underscores how different digital techniques are used in digital oppression, how they differ in outcomes, and why some states employ digital repression. The second theme then probes who is responsible for the rise of digital repression and the role that states and private companies have in spreading its usage. In turn, the third theme highlights the consequences of digital repression and its dangers, before the final theme synthesises these perspectives to offer effective and practical policy responses for all key global stakeholders.
The e-book's chapters will be serialised on Global Policy over the course of 2023. Check here regularly for the latest releases.