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Biden's Summit for Democracy gets slow start on tech concerns

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

What is the goal of the Summit for Democracy?

President Biden ran his campaign for the soul of the nation and wanted to show the world at the same time that America is back. So the idea of having better cooperation between democracies is one with growing support, especially given the rise of authoritarianism, but also attacks on civil society and the use of technologies for repression and harm to democracy directly.

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Who’s in Joe Biden’s democracy club?

The Biden administration’s much-touted Summit for Democracy kicks off on Thursday. A total of 110 countries are invited, with some puzzling choices and omissions.

Illiberal Poland is attending, but not illiberal Hungary. Seven of the 10 Southeast Asian nations are out, but several quasi-democracies in Africa are in. Brazil's authoritarian-minded President Jair Bolsonaro is an acceptable democrat for Joe Biden, but not Bolivia's democratically-elected President Luis Arce.

The criteria to get a ticket is as unclear as what Biden’s democratic virtual get-together wants to achieve.

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The Graphic Truth: Are you democratic enough for Joe Biden?

The Summit for Democracy, which the Biden administration has been playing up for months, kicks off Thursday. The invite-only event with representatives from 110 countries is Biden’s baby: it’s a chance for the US president to “rescue” democracy, which is in global decline. What’s less clear, however, is why some states with poor democratic records have a seat at the table, while others with better democratic bona fides don’t. Is this a real stab at strengthening democracy, or rather a naked attempt to alienate those who cozy up to foes like China and Russia? We take a look at a selection of invitees, as well as some who didn’t make the cut, and their respective democracy ratings based on the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index.

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