Use or misuse? The emerging global challenge of data authoritarianism

Megatrend Lecture

Ort / Datum
Bonn, 16.11.2023


European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies (CASSIS)

With the rise of digital economies and digital innovations, issues surrounding data are becoming increasingly important in public debates around the world. While new challenges have emerged regarding data misuses in the past years, the political, legal and multilateral responses have been lagging, partly due to the complexity of these new phenomena. Examples of use and misuse of power abound, ranging from new forms of digital repression, surveillance and propaganda, to small- and large-scale disinformation, not to mention foreign interference in national elections and politics at large. Against this backdrop, this year’s Megatrends lecture, jointly organized by CASSIS Bonn, EADI and IDOS/Megatrends Afrika, investigated the central links between the growing digitalisation of the economy and the rising threats to public, civil and political freedom. It started by providing a broad picture of the links between rapid digitalisation and civil liberties in India and sub-Saharan Africa, before exploring the different ways states operationalise surveillance to control information and citizens, either through blunt shutdowns of the internet, targeted digital repression or election manipulation. It then explored how those dynamics can be accentuated through the involvement of foreign actors, be they states or corporations, with a view to organise disinformation campaigns or to facilitate surveillance.


Welcome words

  • Andy Sumner (King's College, London, EADI President)
  • Axel Berger (Deputy Director, German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS))



  • Sangeeta Mahapatra (German Institute for Global and Area Studies, GIGA)
  • Ennatu Domingo (European Centre for Development Policy Management, ECDPM)
  • Iginio Gagliardone (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, WITS)



  • Basile Boulay (EADI)


The event was followed by a short drink reception from 19.30 to 20.00


Während unserer Veranstaltungen werden z.T. Foto- und/oder Filmaufnahmen gemacht, die für Zwecke der Veranstaltungsberichterstattung und allgemeinen Öffentlichkeitsarbeit in verschiedenen Medien veröffentlicht werden. Sie haben jederzeit das Recht, die Foto- oder Videograf*innen darauf hinzuweisen, dass Sie nicht aufgenommen werden möchten.


Datum / Uhrzeit

16.11.2023 / 18:00 - 19:30


German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)
Tulpenfeld 6
D-53113 Bonn


Please note that this event is in-person only.


 Photo: Dr. Benedikt Erforth is a Political Scientist and Senior Researcher in the Research programme "Inter- and Transnational Cooperation"

Dr. Benedikt Erforth
Project Lead & Senior Researcher


Icon: Finger pushes a button. Please register by 8 November via this link

Please register by 8 November via this link