Emerging Technologies Podcast Episodes

Digital IDs and Coercion in China and Venezuela: A Conversation with Iria Puyosa and Valentin Weber

Globally, democratic activists are confronting novel forms of digital repression pioneered by autocrats who increasingly share software, hardware, and knowledge across borders. Notably, the People’s Republic of China has developed a heavily coercive governance model which it exports internationally through firms such as Huawei and ZTE. In Venezuela, for example, PRC technologies help to underpin the invasive “homeland” digital ID system, which is required for citizens to receive public salaries, state benefits, and access to medical care. 

Iria Puyosa (Atlantic Council DFRLab) and Valentin Weber (German Council on Foreign Relations) joined the Forum’s Christopher Walker and Beth Kerley to discuss the emerging threat from autocrats leveraging digital ID and digital information collection to incentivize compliance with regime models of “normal” behavior. Together, they unpack examples of repressive digital governance practices in China and Venezuela and explore steps the democratic community needs to take to stay ahead of digital authoritarians. This podcast was recorded after a joint, private workshop co-organized by the International Forum, Stanford University’s Global Digital Policy Incubator, and the Hoover Institution’s China’s Global Sharp Power Project. 

For further insights on related issues, check out the International Forum’s companion blog, “Power 3.0 Understanding Modern Authoritarian Influence.” You can find additional resources on the Emerging Technologies and Democracy research hub and join the conversation with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and X. 

The views expressed in this podcast represent the opinions and analysis of the participants and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for Democracy or its staff. Photo Credit: [Wit Olszewski/Shutterstock]