The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Smith discusses foreign information operations, online disinformation and how the U.S. government and tech companies can address it

Brad Smith joins Washington Post Live on Thursday, June 23. (Video: The Washington Post)
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With the ability to spread online like wildfire, disinformation can have a corrosive impact on civil society. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and vice chair, joins Washington Post Live to discuss foreign information operations, online disinformation, what the U.S. government should be doing about it and how tech companies continue to assess their role in the fight against it.

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“The reality is that cyber is, as people say, the fourth plane of war. There’s land, there’s sea, there’s air, now there’s cyberspace. But cyberspace is, first of all, a human creation…that by definition, is owned, it’s operated and it’s protected, in part by the private sector, in part, by tech companies. And so, we have a role that is…not only indispensable, its unavoidable. The first response of a business when a war breaks out is typically to leave the battle and get as far away as possible…And so, as we say in the report…this is not a war just between Russia and Ukraine. It is a war between Russia and Ukraine that involves an alliance of countries that are supporting Ukraine and an alliance of tech companies and I would say NGOs.”- Brad Smith (Video: Washington Post Live)
“The KGB and the Soviet Union really mastered, in many ways, the art of what we’re calling “influence operations.” …The bottom line is, just as we become more sophisticated in addressing other forms of cyber threats, we need to address with urgency, perhaps even greater urgency, this new cyber threat as well. Because, in many ways, it's really directed at the core of our democracy."- Brad Smith (Video: Washington Post Live)

Brad Smith

President & Vice Chair, Microsoft