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Responses to Foreign Information Operations: what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what should we be doing instead?

Documented evidence of nation states using information platforms to interfere in democratic processes, manipulate public debates, and undermine open societies has catalyzed efforts from governments, civil society, and technology companies to mitigate the threat of state-sponsored information manipulation. Those responses, however, have received far less careful analysis than the threat itself. This panel will therefore focus on assessing the efficacy, wisdom, and democratic implications of proposed and implemented solutions to state-sponsored information operations from both a policy and operational perspective. The goal is to better understand the tools that have been effectively deployed to combat malign influence and those that have, or could potentially, damage the very idea of an open, democratic information space. In the context of the Summit for Democracy, we’ll also explore how global democracies can respond to and resist the creep of digital authoritarianism—not just in autocratic countries but in democratic ones as well.


Moderator: Bret Schafer, Senior Fellow for Information Manipulation


Anneli Ahonen, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (former head of European External Action Service) (UK)

Puma Shen, Director, DoubleThink Lab and Assistant Professor, National Taipei University (Taiwan)

Lee Foster, Senior Vice President, Alethea Group (formerly of Mandiant/FireEye and now with the Alethea Group) (USA)

Renée DiResta, Technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory and led an investigation into Russian interference on behalf of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI)