Mr. Steven Feldstein is receiving the 2023 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order for his book The Rise of Digital Repression: How Technology Is Reshaping Power, Politics and Resistance (Oxford University Press, 2021).
In his book Feldstein examines how governments in China, Thailand, Ethiopia and the Philippines have used a wide range of digital tools such as internet shutdowns, disinformation campaigns, artificial intelligence and even DNA collection to repress their citizens. For example, authorities in Hong Kong used facial recognition to identify protest leaders and censorship tools to keep protest information from circulating. His findings have disturbing implications for democracies and civil society organizations worldwide.
Feldstein observes: “My goal was to learn how digital technology will affect the way governments rule in the future,” he said. “I found that as people come to rely more on online communication, their leaders are realizing they can use the same tools—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok—to spread propaganda, sow division and intimidate their critics.”
Steven Feldstein is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program. Previously, he was the holder of the Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs and an associate professor at Boise State University. Feldstein was a deputy assistant secretary in the democracy, human rights, and labor bureau in the U.S. Department of State under President Obama. Prior to that role, he served as the director of policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and also worked as counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Chairmen Joseph Biden and John Kerry.
Feldstein received the AB from Princeton and JD from Berkeley School of Law.