Lloyd Cutler Lecture
The Pride and Fall of the American Digital Empire
Please note that this event has been cancelled. We are aiming to reschedule for fall 2020. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.
In the 1990s, the United States successfully pushed its vision for the then-nascent global internet: American-style, libertarian “freedom.” This vision was pitched as principle but it served American economic, diplomatic, and political interests. At the same time, the United States developed prodigious tools of cyber-exploitation and cyber-attack that were wholly inconsistent with the freedom agenda. For almost two decades, from ca. 1995-2013, this seemed a win-win for the United States. But in the last few years, argues Jack Landman Goldsmith, it has become apparent that the US approach is failing, both at home and abroad. The rest of the world is rejecting the parochial US vision and is implementing alternative visions of the digital future—one that emphasizes greater control for local values and for the state itself. Inside the United States, it is becoming clear that there is a fundamental mismatch between America’s core commitments (freedom of speech and the press, privacy) and the conditions needed for a safe and secure internet. Contrary to the American freedom agenda, the freest and most conceivably open internet is one of significantly enhanced state control; a locked-down internet everywhere is inevitable. The battle will be about which forms of territorial control best preserve the global digital commons.