Former world chess champion and political activist Garry Kasparov warned today of the “fake news” mass industry built by Vladimir Putin, accusing the Russian president of using the internet as a weapon of war.
At a press conference held at the Web Summit, the well-known opponent of the Russian president highlighted the warnings left over the past few years and considered that because of this “technological threat”, “the world is increasingly divided and values are being attacked “in Western democracies.
“It is almost natural that any authoritarian government uses technology to extend its power, and the massive ‘fake news’ industry that Putin built was expected. I have to give them credit because they built a cybercrime machine that seduced Russia and Eastern Europe, but also the United States of America, “he said.
Recalling Vladimir Putin’s past as a Russian intelligence agent in the KGB, Garry Kasparov argued that the current leader of Russia “realized that this technological war is a very effective” low cost “war, proving capable of” shaking the pillars of democracy “in the ‘free world’.
“In the US there is almost total consensus in the government [on Russian interference in the 2016 elections]with a notable exception at the top [President Donald Trump]. And there is some concern about these midterm elections, where Republicans eventually won all the toughest disputes. Already in Europe, there are countries that openly support Putin’s separatist agenda. I see little resistance in Europe. “
The abuse of personal information shared by people on the Internet, and more specifically on social networks, was also addressed by the Russian political activist, who left the country “for six years because he could not talk about these issues.” For Kasparov, this abuse occurs by companies and states and a process of “digital hygiene” has to be started.
“It’s like washing your hands. When it comes to digital information, people do not pay attention. There are no free lunches. People pay in a new currency: privacy. There is no magic solution to cure this problem. My concern is that I look to the European Union and to the US and its instruments of combat are for those who reside in the ‘free world’. But the world is all interconnected and we have to work on global solutions, “he said.
At the same time, the former world chess champion has assumed that tackling the current phenomenon of social polarization must also undergo greater political will, arguing that multinational technology such as Google and Facebook “yield more easily” to pressure from Russia or China than countries like Germany or the USA.