Can Democracy Withstand the Cyber Age?: 1984 in the 21st Century

David M. Howard

Volume 69, Issue 5, 1355-1378

Democracy has evolved throughout history, and democracy can survive the challenges of the cyber age. However, democracy will be affected by the internet and increased cybersecurity. Cybersecurity and democracy sometimes appear at odds, and the recent cyberattacks on democratic elections show the growing need for strengthened cybersecurity. Yet these efforts to increase cybersecurity must comport with the needs of democracy. This Article describes the potential conflicts between cybersecurity and the foundations of democracy, and argues that for democracy to survive the coming decades, cybersecurity efforts must support the values that sustain our democracy, particularly that of free speech and informed voting. While we are in a dangerous period of modern history, this Article further argues that the requirements of cybersecurity and democracy do not need to be mutually exclusive, but that the internet can enhance democratic institutions.

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