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Disinformation Governance Board looks frighteningly similar to the KGB

The United State’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on April 27, 2022 it was forming a Disinformation Governance Board (DGB). The stated goal of the new board is to try to counter the spread of false information. Similarly, in a public statement, the DHS indicated the board would “protect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties” as part of its duties.

DHS said the DGB will have a primarily focus of counter misleading information about U.S. border policy used by human traffickers. Many smuggler groups are said to be promoting messaging about policy shifts towards open boarders. Above all, they hope the DGB efforts will prevent further surges of migrants contracting with smugglers to enter the country illegally.

In addition, another major stated goal is to counter disinformation coming from foreign agents like Russia. According to DHS, Russia has continually engaged in misinformation campaigns aimed at U.S. citizens. In fact, they claim Russian disinformation campaigns are wide in scope. First, stoking internal divisions. Second, calling into question the validity of elections. Thirdly, spreading conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines. Finally, and most recently, spreading false narratives around the war in Ukraine.

ISEG Research Fellow raises warnings about the potential harms of the new Disinformation Governance Board

On May 2, 2022, Dr. Abigail Devereaux, Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth (ISEG), and Dr. Roger Koppl, professor of finance at Syracuse University, published an article on the dangers of the newly established DGB. While the stated goals seem noble enough, the evidence so far points to a far more biased approach to ”truth” with real danger of abuse. In conclusion, they warn that the DGB already looks like a partisan instrument and is frighteningly reminiscent of the Soviet Union era KGB.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

By creating the DGB, the U.S. government is creating a crisis monitor with the dial permanently set to “existential threat.” No one inside the board will have the incentive—or the courage—to dial it down.

The dangers of the DGB will be amplified if it becomes the tool of partisan political actors. And it already has. Executive director Nina Jankowicz, who once described Hunter Biden’s laptop as “a Trump campaign product,” has written that America’s “information landscape” includes “declining trust in the media, fed by the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on the fourth estate.” She has said: “Unless we mitigate our own political polarization, our own internal issues, we will continue to be an easy target for any malign actor—Russian or Iranian, foreign or domestic—to manipulate.”

Yes, you read that right. We must all fall in line because of the many grave threats—domestic as well as foreign—out there. Incorrect political opinions become a national-security threat. The DGB already looks frighteningly similar to the KGB.

Dr. Abigail Devereaux
Research Fellow

Read the whole article at the Wall Street Journal.