European Council on Foreign Relations, Ulrike Franke y José Ignacio Torreblanca
Geo-tech politics: Why technology shapes European power

Geopolitics implications of technology

The think tank “European Council on Foreign Relations” (@ecfr) released an article analyzing the geopolitics implications of digital technologies for the European Union (EU). “Digital and technological sovereignty” is essential for the EU to “enjoy foreign policy autonomy”, to address vulnerabilities that may arise from 5G, undersea cables or military Artificial Intelligence, and to export European regulatory standards to other countries in favor of data privacy and democratic values.

The article is focusing on the geopolitical dimension of the development, adoption, and regulation of technology in Europe with the following highlights:

  • We need to address two types of geopolitical vulnerabilities arising from current technology “status quo” in order to “enjoy foreign policy autonomy”:
    ‑ A few states are leading or monopolizing Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, and other new technologies and digital infrastructures (“sea cables”). That means technological dependence on non-EU providers and poses some risks such as the need to adopt non-EU standards in the ethical approach to AI or in data privacy as EU data already flows to foreign countries and companies.
    ‑ Openness to foreign interference: According to the article, technologies can also open gaps for states to interfere with others through disinformation campaigns, deep fake news or excess of information, which ultimately foster lack of trust in institutions and democracy.
  • Recommendations on how to address all these sources of vulnerability. In this regard the EU should:
    ‑ Improve its data sovereignty by adopting strict regulations on data privacy and ensuring that these are exported to countries and companies that access Europeans’ data.
    ‑ Invest heavily in exporting technologies and practices that protect democracy and help achieve technological sovereignty.
    ‑ Engage deeper with external implications and geopolitical power elements of technology. 

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