South Korea’s President Yoon Warns of Tech Threats to Democracy at Global Summit

See how President Yoon Suk Yeol highlights the dangers of fake news and disinformation powered by AI and digital tech at the Summit for Democracy.

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On Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol cautioned against the dangers posed by fake news and disinformation fuelled by AI and digital technology, as his country hosted a summit attended by senior officials from Britain, the EU, and the United States.

During the opening of the Summit for Democracy, Yoon stressed the importance of nations sharing experiences and insights to ensure that artificial intelligence and technology are utilized to advance democracy.

Yoon identified technological inequality among countries as a significant challenge, attributing it to the economic disparities and democratic setbacks experienced by some nations.

He stated, “Fake news and disinformation, enabled by artificial intelligence and digital technology, not only infringe upon individual freedoms and human rights but also pose a threat to democratic systems.”

The third Summit for Democracy conference, initiated by US President Joe Biden to address the democratic decline and the erosion of rights and freedoms, is being hosted by South Korea.

The conference’s main agenda focuses on digital threats to democracy and the potential of technology to support democratic values and universal human rights.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the importance of technology in upholding democratic norms amidst efforts by authoritarian regimes to undermine democracy and human rights.

Blinken emphasized the collaborative efforts of like-minded governments and their people in safeguarding democracy and promoting free and fair elections.

European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova highlighted the challenges posed by disinformation campaigns, citing threats from actors like the Kremlin, especially during election years such as 2024.

Ahead of the summit, North Korea conducted a missile test, while Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s landslide victory in the recent presidential election raised concerns about the state of democracy in Russia.

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The White House National Security Council criticized the election in Russia, citing concerns over political repression and limitations on opposition candidates.

Putin defended the election’s integrity and dismissed protests against him as having no impact on the outcome.

British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden stressed the various threats facing democracy, including cyberattacks, misinformation, and autocrats staging fraudulent elections.

In a separate session, Blinken announced the release of new guidance for tech companies aimed at protecting human rights defenders online.

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