About the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program
About the Program
The Digital and Cyberspace Policy program addresses one of the most challenging issues facing the country in the twenty-first century: the fragmentation of the global internet and the rising risk of cyber attacks. Digital technologies have become ubiquitous; there are more than seven billion cell phone connections—the majority of them smartphones. The world is becoming increasingly connected, as there are now over 4.9 billion internet users across the globe. By 2025, the world is expected to average almost four internet of things (IoT) connections per person.
The global internet has been an engine for free expression, social movements, innovation, and entrepreneurial activity. According to one report, the digital economy accounts for 4.5 to 15.5 percent of global gross domestic product. The ubiquity of the smartphones allows people to access a world of knowledge from their fingertips, buy and sell goods instantaneously, and connect with loved ones.
However, cyberspace is becoming less free and open. Countries around the world now exert a greater degree of control over the internet, localizing data and blocking and moderating content. Internet access has also created new vulnerabilities for nations, corporations, and individuals Internet-enabled devices can be exploited to allow unscrupulous actors to surreptitiously monitor communications, track someone’s location in real time, steal proprietary and confidential data, interrupt access to information and networks, disrupt elections, influence public opinions, and undermine trust in institutions.
The program informs policymakers, business leaders, and the general public about the politics of cyberspace through briefings, reports, interactives, the Cyber Brief publication series, and the Net Politics blog. The program also encourages exchanges between the public and private sectors to shape U.S. policy and the emerging global rules and norms of cyberspace. Current projects focus on cybersecurity; online disinformation; and data, privacy, and trade.