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Publications

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An Initiative by

Foreword

Danielle Cave and Fergus Hanson; Convenors, The Sydney Dialogue

Major advances in technology have always been disruptive. But when they occur against a backdrop of great power competition, the stable development and deployment of these technologies becomes fraught.

Few have grasped the enormity of the disruption coming our way as more and more new technologies – from increasingly sophisticated surveillance to quantum and biotechnologies – are deployed across the world. While governments grapple with foreseeing the full impacts and setting policy direction, there’s a growing realisation that emerging and critical technologies will be extraordinarily important for societies, economies and national security.

We launched The Sydney Dialogue to support a more stable roll-out of the next wave of transformational technologies. It is a forum allowing for frank debate about the rapidly changing strategic landscape, and a space for governments, business and civil society to come together to focus on solutions, cooperation and policy options.

The Sydney Dialogue came about because we saw big gaps in forums on...

A Middle Path to Economic CooperationCreating Bubbles of Trust Among Quad Countries to Manage China
Civil Society

Nitin Pai

Director, Takshashila Institution

Today’s global retreat away from free movement of goods, services, capital, people and ideas across national borders is not so much a consequence of globalisation, but of its skewed pattern over the past four decades. The world’s acquiescence to an asymmetric globalisation favouring China allowed Beijing to attain the power it is now using to undermine liberal democratic values around the world.

Even before General Secretary Xi Jinping formally required Chinese firms to follow the political agenda of the Chinese Communist Party, private businesses there were never non-state corporate entities in the way they are in liberal democracies. It was never possible to tell where private ownership ended and the party-state began.
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Digital Democracy in TaiwanCrowdsourcing for an Inclusive and Resilient Indo-Pacific
Government

Audrey Tang

Digital Minister of Taiwan

COVID-19 has stress-tested democracies across the world, and the results have left something to be desired. Many democracies, including those in the Indo-Pacific, have been revealed as flawed and failing – either grasping for authority or gasping for relevance. Is this really surprising, though, given that we have done so little to modernise these institutions that stretch back to ancient Athens?
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Brave New WorldThe Power of Digital Liberal Democracy in an Age of Pandemic
Industry

Jun Sawada

President and CEO, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation

The coronavirus pandemic has seen technology-enabled centralised control bleed into ever greater parts of our lives. But centralisation of power almost always spells disaster for humanity. Whether led by companies or governments, centralisation initiatives always have a certain appealing logic when examined within a microcosm. But taking a wider view, it becomes clear there are good reasons to look elsewhere for solutions to our challenges. We need nothing short of a new paradigm: digital liberal democracy.
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Keeping the Internet OpenContrasting Visions of the Internet Could Define the Indo-Pacific’s Future
Civil Society

Nick Clegg

Vice-President of Global Affairs, Meta

The global internet is at a defining moment. Policymakers and regulators across Asia and around the world are writing rules that will shape our relationship with the internet for decades to come. Laws are being proposed governing everything from privacy and content to how data is held, shared and used at scale.
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Made in ChinaA Digital Agenda for the Quad
Civil Society

Dr Samir Saran

Observer Research Foundation

Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Centre for Security, Strategy and Technology, Observer Research Foundation

In the Indo-Pacific and beyond, China’s growth in capabilities and political authoritarianism are now threatening to alter how we engage with technology and digital domains. China believes it has the right to access other nations’ information and networks without offering up access to its own. This is not a simple techno-mercantilism. There is a single purpose to China’s deepening investments in existing and future technologies: furthering the agenda of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). For Beijing, technology is about both national security and ideology.
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Preparing for New ChallengesWhy the Indo-Pacific Needs Its Own Hybrid Threats Centre
Civil Society

Danielle Cave

Deputy Director, ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre

Dr Jake Wallis

Program Head of Information Operations and Disinformation, ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre

The brisk construction of AUKUS – the new Australia–UK–US technology-focused trilateral that made world headlines in September – is an example of how the strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific is changing, and quickly. Traditional security issues continue to loom large, but today’s most pressing challenges are shifting to less familiar domains: cyberspace, technology and the information environment.
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Time for the Tech Industry to Step Up for WomenGreater Global Collaboration to Minimise Online Harms
Government

Julie Inman Grant

Australian eSafety Commissioner

Anne Dunn-Baleilevuka

Fijian Online Safety Commissioner

Gendered abuse starts young – almost 60 per cent of all girls worldwide experience some form of online sexual harm. Yes, you read that statistic right. As the world’s first online safety commissioners, we believe it is time to act on online gender-based violence so that across the Indo-Pacific and beyond, all people can reap the benefits that connectivity and critical technologies provide without fear.
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A Democratic Counter to Chinese CensorshipHow to Protect Global Free Expression in the TikTok Era
Civil Society

Paul Scharre

Vice President and Director of Studies, Center for a New American Security

Kara Frederick

Technology Policy Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

China’s rise as a global technology leader poses a profound challenge to democratic nations in the Indo-Pacific and around the world. Under the umbrella of Beijing’s protectionism, Chinese tech giants such as Tencent and ByteDance have grown some of the largest social media platforms in the world, such as WeChat, QQ and Qzone.

With TikTok (owned by ByteDance), Chinese social media platforms are going global. As their reach expands beyond China’s borders, they risk Chinese Communist Party (CCP) censorship. Beijing is exporting more than technology; it is exporting its censorship of ‘sensitive topics’ that offend CCP leaders, and in the process threatening the democratic principle of free expression.
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No Accountability Without LiabilityTech Companies Hold Key to Cybersecurity
Civil Society

Marietje Schaake

International Policy Director, Stanford University Cyber Policy Center

At the White House cybersecurity summit in August 2021, US President Joe Biden made a revealing acknowledgement: most critical infrastructure is now in the hands of private companies. This dramatic reality evolved almost unnoticed over the past decades and has accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic. The combination of an unprecedented dependence on technology and new methods of cyberattacks have made systemic cyber vulnerability an urgent problem.
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Building a More Resilient EconomyHow China is Leveraging Digital Infrastructure and Manufacturing
Civil Society

Rui Ma

Founder of Tech Buzz China

In a presentation shared widely on Chinese social media, Chen Li, chief economist at Soochew Securities, declared: ‘We have abandoned the American path to the German path.’ Chris Leung, chief China economist at DBS Group Holdings, soon echoed the sentiment: ‘The departure of Beijing from the Anglo-Saxon model has already begun … The German model is a strong contender as a guiding development model.’
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Investing in South-East Asia’s Tech FutureHow to Bridge the Digital Divide
Civil Society

Dr Huong Le Thu

Senior analyst, ASPI

The digital divide and rising inequality are now the everyday bromides of earnest policymakers. But the phrases have become policy cliches, stripped of meaning, with no sense of the underlying dynamics at play, making the prospects for any viable solutions slim. The Covid-19 pandemic has offered a harsh look at the role of the digital divide in driving inequality and the unedifying future that lies ahead as major technological advances compound and permanently entrench inequality.
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The Sydney Dialogue acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land and pays respect to the Elders both past and present. We honour and respect the significant role they play for our community.

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The Sydney Dialogue acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land and pays respect to the Elders both past and present. We honour and respect the significant role they play for our community.