Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Internet Superpowers

| November 2022

Executive Summary

As inventions go, the Internet stacks up with the best of them: the lightbulb, automobile, maybe even fire. However, it’s time for policymakers to look carefully at how its swift transformation of society has affected freedom. Today’s disconcerting answer is that it breaks some essential tools for a civilized society. Furthermore, it equips people with “superpowers” that further rob individuals of their agency. Regulation focused on data privacy and misinformation misses this larger societal threat; public authorities must attend to civilizing the Web. The United States needs an agency devoted to empowering citizens to self-govern in cyberspace for generations to come. This call will reinforce U.S. strategic defenses against cyberattacks (for example, by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the recent Cyberspace Solarium Commission). As this essay explains, bolstering the civility and transparency of our cyber lives also promises to reduce our vulnerability to such attacks.

  – Via Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Johnson, Steve . “Internet Superpowers.” Edited by Nate Bruggeman. Policy Brief, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, November 2022.

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