One Big Thing: Should big tech bend to authoritarians’ demands to subvert democracy?
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What is it?
- Last weekend, Russians went to the polls to vote for their representation in Russia’s lower house of Parliament, known as the Duma.
- Leading up to the election, the Russian government shut down opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s smart-voting system/application, thus restricting the Russian people’s right to vote.
- Big Tech companies including Apple and Google have removed Navalny’s voting app from their platforms, bowing to pressure from the Moscow’s censorship office.
- Navalny and his team created an app to fight electoral corruption by giving Russian citizens a platform to vote in opposition to Putin in a way that would avoid splitting ballots between members of the opposition.
Why is it important?
- By limiting the options to vote for Russians, the Kremlin has shown that they aren’t interested in providing free and fair elections, and would rather limit the voting options of the public for their own gain
- This is another example of the choices many tech companies must consider when operating in foreign countries. In this case, Apple and Google chose bent to the Russian government when they removed the app from their stores, effectively turning their back on the Russian people and democratic norms.
What can you do?
- Raising awareness of this issue on social media would help show the Russian public that they are not alone, as well as showing the government that their actions have not gone unnoticed
Authored by Andriy Nix
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