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Democracies must modernise their laws to protect freedoms in the era of technological transformation

India’s recent skirmish with Twitter is not an isolated case where a government has locked horns with US tech giants that have acquired a larger-than-life presence across the world. Nowhere have the arguments on big tech been more intense than in the US, where the last two general elections in 2016 and 2020 have seen strong charges of political manipulation by social media companies.

The story is not just about the oversized role of social media companies in elections. It envelops a range of domestic and international issues including the concentration of economic power, individual rights against the state as well as the corporation, disinformation, the rise of digital geopolitics, and global digital governance.

While China has come up with clear answers, for good or bad, to the new digital questions, liberal societies around the world are struggling to address the challenges to democratic forms of governance that emerged with the modern industrial society.


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