Alec Ross, one of America’s leading experts on innovation, recently took part in a Q&A conducted by American University’s School of International Service Online, centred around his thoughts on technology, censorship, and the private sector’s role in development.
Here are some highlights:
Increasing security risks facing global citizens:
“A government’s ability to survey its citizens poses a real threat in countries where political dissent is not tolerated and where human rights are not respected. Being connected means having access to the kind of information and functionality it takes to compete and succeed in our technology rich, knowledge-based economy. Unfortunately, this connectedness can also make people more vulnerable to the prying eyes of authoritarian governments.”
The private sector’s role in development:
“I think that development is being increasingly driven by the private sector—not so much by businesses developing socially responsible models of development (it is actually a tiny percentage who have these models in reality), but by government budgets being strained to the max. “
Ineffective Internet censorship efforts:
“It is getting more and more difficult to censor the Internet because of the powerful Internet freedom tools being developed by engineer activists around the world. When I was at the State Department, we probably spent $100 million to support the development of these tools and to train people how to use them effectively and safely. The kind of control freak mentality that censors have is ill suited to today’s world.”
For the full Q&A, click here.
For information on Alec’s speaking availability, please contact Alex Hickman, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8004