Digital Solidarity: At the Heart of the new US Diplomatic Strategy

The United States Department of State has unveiled a comprehensive tech diplomacy strategy built around the concept of digital solidarity. Digital solidarity refers to the willingness to collaborate on shared goals and offer mutual support in using digital technologies in a manner that respects human rights. New strategy builds on a rights-respecting approach leading to enhanced security, resilience, self-determination, and prosperity.

Central to this strategy is the alignment of U.S. national interests with those of international partners through compatible approaches to technology governance.

The US digital diplomacy strategy focuses on four key areas of action and three important principles.

Firstly, the United States seeks to pursue an affirmative vision for cyberspace and digital technologies, grounded in international commitments and law, including human rights. The aim is to create an environment where people worldwide can safely participate in free, open, and informed societies, access educational and economic opportunities, and receive critical services and information from their governments.

Secondly, cybersecurity and technological innovation will be integrated into the overall US diplomatic approach. Cybersecurity and data security are deemed prerequisites for economic growth and healthy civic spaces where citizens can exercise their rights. Without a secure digital ecosystem, it is challenging to support an innovative digital environment that benefits everyone.

Thirdly, the strategy emphasizes the need for a comprehensive policy approach that covers the entire digital ecosystem. This includes hardware, software, protocols, technical standards, providers, operators, users, and supply chains spanning various technologies and infrastructure. Efforts will be made to build strong partnerships with civil society and the private sector to promote responsible state behavior in cyberspace and counter threats to critical infrastructure.

Lastly, the Department of State aims to strengthen and build international partner digital and cyber capacity. This involves assisting partners in establishing defensible and resilient digital ecosystems over the long term. Additionally, support will be provided to help partners respond and recover quickly from incidents that threaten security, safety, and rights.

Active participation in international, multilateral, and multi-stakeholder bodies is highlighted as crucial. By engaging in these forums, the United States can influence the development of obligations, norms, standards, and principles that impact cyberspace, digital technologies, and the internet.

The strategy recognizes that investments in cyberspace and digital technology diplomacy will shape various foreign policy issues, such as international security, democracy, human rights, global health, and climate change.

To achieve success, the United States must demonstrate consistency and take action domestically, both in policy and execution. The article suggests that U.S. technology companies, as leaders in digitalization, should play a prominent role in promoting accountability for technology platforms. The United States needs to lead in the responsible design, development, governance, and use of future technologies in line with democratic values and respect for human rights.

The United States possesses strengths that can shape the future of digital technologies, including strong alliances and partnerships, innovative technology companies, an inclusive policy environment, and engaged civil society and technical communities. The country aims to mobilize these resources to implement an affirmative and proactive international cyberspace and digital strategy.

In conclusion, the Department of State’s strategy seeks to foster digital solidarity by promoting an affirmative vision for digital technologies, integrating cybersecurity and sustainability, implementing a comprehensive policy approach, and building international partnerships and cyber capacity. The United States aims to leverage its strengths to shape international technology governance positively. Active participation in international fora is emphasized to counter adversarial influences and protect U.S. interests and values.

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