WASHINGTON – The Georgetown Law Center on National Security (CNS) has released a groundbreaking report, Social Media: The Canary in the Coal Mine. This initiative, led by CNS Director Professor Laura K. Donohue and a high-level Task Force, is the first to identify and comprehensively address national security threats to, and opportunities presented by, emerging social media technologies. 

The report assesses the future impact of artificial intelligence, extended reality, Web3, an advanced cyber infrastructure, and biodata collection, providing a detailed roadmap for all of society to establish a healthy digital world. It calls for the adoption of a Digital Bill of Rights and a Developer’s Code of Conduct, and it offers a set of information governance principles to govern future decision making.

The Task Force included technologists, computer scientists, venture capitalists, constitutional law scholars, members of Congress, federal judges, privacy advocates, government regulators, rural and civil rights activists, student journalists, federal prosecutors, and other experts from diverse backgrounds. Their deliberations benefited from a Research Consortium of experts and approximately 100 stakeholder interviews, which extended across urban/rural, political, ethnic and racial, gender, age, geographic, disability, and socioeconomic lines. From social media influencers to consumer advocates, this report makes a significant effort to give voice to all with a stake in these critical societal issues.

The Center is currently developing an accompanying report focused on the international regulation and potential manipulation of social media, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence.

“This forward-leaning initiative focuses on national security threats coming down the pike, as well as the enormous opportunities that present with new and emerging technologies,” said Donohue. “The future of democratic governance relies on our ability to navigate this new world. The report is a first step in giving us the ability to do so.”

CNS is the nation’s premier academic center on national security law, conducting cutting edge research and training the next generation of lawyers through its J.D. and LL.M. national security law programs. Anchored by the strongest and most diverse national security faculty in the country, the Center is at the forefront of the national security conversation. It operates with a “NatSec 360” perspective, a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to identifying and addressing some of the most pressing concerns in national security law and policy.

The Center recently expanded its work as a think/do tank, connecting research to real world problems. Their marquee initiative is the launch of its 360 Incubators: problem-solving labs dedicated to finding and implementing novel, cross-sector solutions to complex security problems at the intersection of law, policy, and society. To support the Incubators, the Center is constructing an innovation methodology that builds on design thinking, creative problem solving, complexity theory, organizational behavior, change management and related fields. Their goal is to help protect the security, well-being, and rights of people at home and in the world. 

The initial four Incubators focus on new and emerging technology; international peace and security, natural security, and national security institutions. This project is the first deep dive launched by the NatSec Tech Incubator.

Download the Full Report