Google Exec: Ukraine Is ‘A Crystal Ball’ For Info Warfare

UNITED NATIONS — A Google executive warned the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that cyberattacks, disinformation and other forms of information warfare being waged in Ukraine are a “crystal ball” for future problems elsewhere.

“States must find a way to turn the volume down and settle on some kind of deterrence doctrine for the cyber domain,” Jared Cohen said at a council meeting on hate speech, incitement and atrocities in Ukraine.

Continue reading: The Leadership Brief: U.S. Companies Should Prepare for Putin’s ‘Gangster Diplomacy’ As Risk of Russian Cyberattacks Grows

He argued that while tech companies have needed expertise, “there is no magical algorithm or single fix for this,” and finding a solution will take a lot of experimentation.

Cohen is the head of Jigsaw at Google, which aims to develop technology that combats disinformation,censorship, and extremism online.

He said Ukraine “has been disproportionately targeted” by advanced cyberattacks since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding: “It is essentially our crystal ball for what is likely to come.”

Technology companies were under greater pressure after the conflict in Ukraine. They had to do more to counter hate speech and disinformation online. New rules are being developed by the European Union that will require Google and Facebook parent Meta to enforce stricter policies on their platforms.

The Security Council has accused Russia of using propaganda, hate and disinformation to undermine Ukraine. Mandiant Cyber Security, which recently released a report, stated that Russia used propaganda, fear, and disinformation to demoralize Ukraine, and its allies.

Continue reading: The Crowdsourcing of Digital Evidence of War Crimes in Ukraine

“Hate speech can also be a war crime,” British deputy U.N. Ambassador James Kariuki said Tuesday, calling on Russia to “stop making such statements.”

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia repeated his country’s counterclaims that Ukrainian authorities’ rhetoric has poisoned citizens against Russia and Russian-speaking populations in Ukraine, with Western encouragement.

“We see, from our side, a real incitement to violence and Russophobia in Ukraine,” he said.

Albania, which currently holds the council’s rotating presidency, called for Tuesday’s meeting.

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