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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Strengthening democracy in Europe

This week, I went to the Copenhagen Democracy Summit to recommit Google’s help to the reason for strengthening democracy. It was solely two years since our final journey to the Summit, throughout a second of uncertainty and disaster in Europe. This yr, it was clear from the discussions that the stakes are even increased.

Right now, state-sponsored risk teams are attacking authorities establishments throughout Europe, exploiting susceptible programs. And issues are mounting concerning the potential misuse of know-how to create extra convincing disinformation campaigns and phishing assaults on the doorstep of June’s EU elections.

The second calls for a more practical partnership between public, non-public and civic organizations, between know-how and democracy, and higher instruments in democracy’s protection.

Expertise’s accountability

For a lot of in Europe, know-how firms have an apparent accountability to help democracy. We hear this day-after-day in dialog with leaders in authorities, academia and civil society. Others may ask what makes Google, a non-public firm, so all in favour of defending Europe’s democratic establishments.

The reply is that this: democracy and civic dialogue have all the time sustained cooperation and innovation. As we mentioned in 2022, democracy creates the circumstances, corresponding to openness and pluralism, for scientific inquiry to flourish, and technologists have a accountability in return to guard these beliefs.

Second, for a lot of hundreds of Googlers, Europe is dwelling. We don’t take as a right what many a long time of peace and democracy have meant for the security and prosperity of our native communities.

An funding in European democracy

Given the significance of this situation, I used to be proud this week to announce the brand new €15M Google.org Impression Problem: Strengthening Democracy in Europe — a fund that may assist civil society teams and social innovators in Europe to scale initiatives selling democratic resilience, together with via using superior know-how and AI.

We’re making this dedication in the midst of a “tremendous election yr”, with EU parliamentary elections throughout 27 member states in June and plenty of nationwide elections later within the yr. However like our different efforts to help election integrity, this new €15M dedication shouldn’t be about anybody election cycle. It’s additionally not about marketing campaign politics; as we mentioned in 2022, we go away “politics to the politicians.” It’s about unlocking options to probably the most urgent issues.

And it’s not solely about 2024; it’s for the long run. Supporting civil society and drawing from the expertise and concepts of presidency leaders is core to how we’ll assist help making know-how work for democracy for a few years to come back.

Supporting European elections

We’ll proceed to help the EU elections in two foremost methods: Firstly, via our merchandise and insurance policies — by surfacing high-quality data to voters, safeguarding our platforms from abuse and equipping campaigns with best-in-class safety instruments and coaching.

And secondly, by supporting civil society organizations. When it opens for functions later this yr, our new €15M Google.org Impression Problem will got down to help the scaling of high-impact initiatives and options to strengthen democracy, together with those who harness AI.

Supporting European organizations

A selected focus might be on areas corresponding to defending election integrity — for instance, supporting cybersecurity for vital infrastructure and constructing the cyber capability of nonprofit organizations who’re engaged on elections and in help of democracy, who could also be in danger from unhealthy actors.

We’ll additionally give attention to supporting organizations who’re selling civic engagement, schooling and dialogue forward of nationwide elections throughout Europe in 2025 and 2026 — for instance, by making election data extra accessible.

Among the many organizations that Google.org has already supported to do that work are:

  • ThinkYoung, a Belgian assume tank that’s operating a sequence of youth-led hackathons throughout Europe, the place younger individuals of voting age will develop revolutionary options to election-related challenges corresponding to boundaries to democratic participation.
  • Full Reality, a UK-based truth checking group {that a} staff of Google.org Fellows assisted in creating an AI software that helps increase the variety of claims that may be checked by over 1000 instances, serving to truth checkers globally.
  • Bodyguard.ai, a French startup that has developed anti-cyberbullying know-how, serving to contribute to extra wholesome on-line civic areas.

We’ll share extra details about the Problem within the coming months. Organizations can register their curiosity at g.co/ImpactChallenge/DemocracyEurope.

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