Digital Policy Salon: Mis- and Disinformation in Ukraine

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Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Mis- and Disinformation in Ukraine
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #60 • View online
Welcome to the 60th issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
We’re celebrating international women’s day at ICTC with the inaugural article in a series on gender in the technology sector, featuring our own Associate Vice President of Skills Excellence Elizabeth Mills. Gender equity in technology has a long way to go, and we’re proud to support initiatives that create more opportunities for equity-seeking groups in STEM.
We’re featuring new research this week published by a combination of ICTC authors and the Harvard Kennedy Carr School for Human Rights Policy. The paper examines the role of human rights law in intelligent community projects. In addition, our policy updates and “what we’re reading” highlight the important intersection between science, technology, and the war in Ukraine: from mis- and disinformation to other forms of cyber-warfare, o ur updates cover the war online.
Finally, be sure to scroll down and check out opportunities to work with us at ICTC, and/or join us at our next community engagement session in Montreal. We look forward to seeing you there.
- Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Big tech emerges as a central player in Russian invasion of Ukraine
Technology permeates all aspects of the modern world, including war: Russia’s use of social media to conduct misinformation campaigns has lead Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to restrict access to Russian state media within Ukraine; remove or minimize the reach of Russian state media content; and prevent Russian state media accounts from advertising or monetizing content. Google also disabled Maps traffic data in Ukraine to protect civilians. In late February, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine sent letters requesting tech companies to block key services in Russia in hopes of raising Russian awareness of the invasion. Russia’s internet and media regulator has opposed these actions, threatening fines. All told, the information economy has proven instrumental in controlling the narrative on the invasion and influencing public opinion.
Disinformation campaigns by Russian state media renews calls for effective solutions
Global attention on Russia and Ukraine has renewed calls for social media platforms to improve their disinformation strategies. In recent weeks, Russia has used such platforms to “project an image of Russian military superiority” that is targeting both the Russian diaspora and those inside Russia. In a letter written by US Senator Warner to Alphabet, the Senator asks companies like Alphabet to take actions against Russia’s state-led disinformation pipeline. Global Affairs Canada has also called for the Freedom Online Coalition to work with social media firms to take action against state-sponsored disinformation.
Russia, Ukraine, and third-party hackers conduct cyber campaigns amid Ukraine invasion
While critical infrastructure has largely been spared, cyber attacks have played a central role in the Ukraine-Russia war. Leading up to the invasion, hackers targeted organizations in Ukraine, including Ukraine’s ministry of Internal Affairs, key Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, and private organizations. While U.S. and U.K. officials have attributed the attacks to Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, Russia denies responsibility. Ukraine has since called for volunteers from the international hacking community to help Ukraine protect critical infrastructure and spy on Russian forces. While not affiliated with Russia or Ukraine officially, hacker collectives Anonymous, Killnet, and the Belarusian Cyber-Partisans have also engaged in cyber attacks.
International community places sanctions on Russia
Western nations are banding together to implement a coordinated response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Economic sanctions have targeted finance, energy, transportation, and technology sectors, including newly implemented restrictions on Russian exports. Russia was also removed from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network, the backbone of the global payments system, making banking and financial transactions more difficult for Russian companies. In support, Canada has paused new export permit applications and placed 58 Russian individuals and entities under the scope of the Special Economic Measures Act sanctions. – Mairead Matthews and Mansharn Toor
Research and Analysis
Building Human Rights into Intelligent-Community Design: Beyond Procurement
Interviews in the Field
Gender in Tech Series: Elizabeth Mills, Associate Vice-President of Skills Excellence
Special Events
Montreal Smart Cities Engagement Session
What We're Reading
Ukraine’s Defense—and Hacktivists—Have Raised Over $4M in Cryptocurrency
Big Tech faces a moral reckoning in Ukraine
HCL Technologies’ Diversity & Inclusion Leader Anuradha Khosla discusses authentic leadership with Cisco Security Business Leader Shailaja K. Shankar
ICTC Career Opportunities
Talk to Us 💬
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