Digital Policy Lab

ISD’s Digital Policy Lab brings together key policymakers to address disinformation, hate speech, extremism and terrorism online

Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Digital Policy Lab (DPL) is an intergovernmental working group focused on charting the regulatory and policy path forward to prevent and counter disinformation, hate speech, extremism and terrorism online.

It comprises a core group of senior representatives of ministries and regulators from key liberal democratic countries. The DPL intends to foster intergovernmental exchange, provide policymakers with access to sector-leading expertise and research, and build an international community of policy practice around key regulatory challenges in the digital policy space.

Since launching in November 2020, regular sessions and information exchanges have brought together officials from 13 countries and the EU. In late 2020 and early 2021, the DPL discussions focussed on developing frameworks for transparency in digital regulation, and reviewing specific legislative proposals, such as the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), the UK Online Safety Bill, and German and French approaches to regulating online harms, as well as non-regulatory proposals such as the European Democracy Action Plan (EDAP). These events were accompanied by a series of policy briefings and discussion papers focusing on different areas of digital policy. These briefing papers are available to download in English and German.

In 2021, the DPL initiated a new cycle of discussions on the theme “A Democratic Internet: Systemic Approaches to Combatting Online Harms.” To kick-off this cycle, a session on the range of harms impacting the integrity of elections provided an overview to the complex threat environment, from extremism, targeted harassment of politicians and election workers, to disinformation and conspiracy theories. Next in the cycle, the DPL sessions will explore recently introduced risk-based digital policy responses and discuss instruments for formulating, designing and conducting risk assessment of online platforms.

The work of the Digital Policy Lab replaces the Policy Planners Network on Countering Radicalisation and Extremism (PPN) that ISD ran from 2008 – 2019, in which time we delivered 24 international events. The PPN worked to upgrade and coordinate the strategies of its 12 governmental members through sharing of information and best practice for designing and implementing policies in countering extremism.

The PPN Network included representation from government agencies in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Norway and Victoria State (Australia). The network also cooperated with the European Commission and the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC) at the Council of the EU.

PPN Summit Paris

Policy Planners Network summit in Paris, France, 2018

Recent Digital Policy publications

Click here for more related ISD Publications

ISD’s Digital Policy team

Sasha Havlicek
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Sasha Havlicek

Co-Founder and CEO

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Sasha Havlicek
Sasha Havlicek

Co-Founder and CEO

Sasha Havlicek is Co-Founder and CEO of ISD, having spearheaded ISD’s pioneering research and data analysis, digital education, policy advisory, training, tech and communications programmes. With a background in conflict resolution and an expertise in extremism, digital information operations and electoral interference, she has advised a range of governments at the highest levels and has spearheaded partnerships with the UN, EU Commission and Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. She has also worked with the private and civil society sectors to promote innovation, including developing major programmes run in partnership with Google, FB and Microsoft. Sasha serves as an expert advisor to the UK Counter-Extremism Commission and the Mayor of London’s counter-extremism programme, and is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Sasha previously served as Senior Director at the EastWest Institute where she led conflict resolution programming. Sasha has testified before US Congress, the UK Parliament and is a regular commentator in the media (CNN, BBC, Channel 4 News and other networks).
Milo Comerford
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Milo Comerford

Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism

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Milo Comerford
Milo Comerford

Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism

Milo Comerford is Head of Policy & Research, Counter Extremism, leading ISD’s work developing innovative research approaches and policy responses to extremism. Milo regularly briefs senior decision makers around the world on the challenge posed by extremist ideologies, and advises governments and international agencies on building effective strategies for countering extremism. He was previously Senior Analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, where he led major research projects on Salafi-jihadi propaganda, international educational responses to extremism, and the transnational far right. His writing and research features frequently in international media and he has made recent broadcast appearances on BBC News, Sky News and Al Jazeera.
Jiore Craig
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Jiore Craig

Head of Digital Integrity

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Jiore Craig
Jiore Craig

Head of Digital Integrity

Jiore Craig is the Head of Digital Integrity at ISD. She has extensive international experience, previously spending eight years helping elected officials, political leaders, media organisations, academic institutions and civic society organisations across five continents to measure the impact of digital communication and influence campaigns on public opinion and communicate effectively in the wake of the threat of disinformation around elections. She was previously a Vice President at a global political consulting firm, where she built a digital practice serving Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America and the US. Jiore’s work informed the design of major coalition efforts to counter disinformation in the 2020 US and 2019 European Parliament elections. Her work is cited in The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The L.A. Times, The New Yorker, and she has been a featured guest on the election podcast, Pod Save America.
Jennie King
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Jennie King

Head of Civic Action and Education

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Jennie King
Jennie King

Head of Civic Action and Education

Jennie King is Head of Civic Action and Education, leading efforts to translate ISD's digital research into frontline programming and response. She co-authored the current 'Be Internet Citizens' curriculum, formally accredited for UK schools, and provides regular briefings for UK government departments and regulators, UNESCO and parallel European/US bodies on systemic approaches to media literacy. Jennie also oversees ISD's growing portfolio on Climate Mis- and Disinformation, supporting a coalition of 30+ organisations worldwide to identify, analyse and counter related harms. Her writing and commentary has been featured by the BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4 News, Tortoise Media and NPR, amongst others. Jennie previously served as MENA Regional Director Arts, Assistant Country Director Egypt and Country Director Hungary for the British Council, the UK’s international body for cultural relations. She read Arabic and Spanish at Pembroke College, Cambridge, receiving a Foundation Scholarship and the Marie Shamma’a Frost Prize for Oriental Studies.
Henry Tuck
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Henry Tuck

Head of Policy & Programmes

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Henry Tuck
Henry Tuck

Head of Policy & Programmes

Henry Tuck is Head of Policy & Programmes at ISD for work across Europe and the Five Eyes countries. He is responsible for the overall management of the Institute’s research programme, including oversight of all publications, research methods, and ethics across a variety of topics, from disinformation to the far-right and extremism online. Henry also leads ISD’s policy-focused work to counter online harms in collaboration with a range of key stakeholders, advising leading governments, international organisations and major private sector tech companies. He is the co-author of ISD reports An imprecise science: Assessing interventions for the prevention, disengagement and de-radicalisation of left and right-wing extremists, The Counter-Narrative Monitoring & Evaluation Handbook, Shooting in the right direction: Anti-ISIS Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq, and The Counter-narrative Handbook. Henry holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies from Kings College London, and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Durham University.
Francesca Arcostanzo
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Francesca Arcostanzo

CASM-ISD Senior Digital Research Methods Lead

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Francesca Arcostanzo
Francesca Arcostanzo

CASM-ISD Senior Digital Research Methods Lead

Francesca Arcostanzo is a Senior Research Manager - Digital Methods Lead within ISD’s Digital Research Unit, working across a variety of research projects to ensure consistency in methods, training and approaches to digital analysis, and leading the ISD-CASM shared strategy for technological development. She has 7+ years of experience in digital research, with a focus on issue politicization, digital polarization and election campaigns. Her main areas of expertise are social media research methods, including content, text, network and statistical analysis of large-scale datasets. She holds a PhD in public opinion, political communication and electoral behaviour from the University of Milan, a MA in Government and Public communication, and a MSc in Intelligence & ICT. In her PhD dissertation, she developed and tested a method to investigate the modes and extent of EU politicization in national election campaigns relying on social media data. Prior to joining ISD, she was a Digital Communications Specialist in the Web and Digital Division of the European Central Bank, monitoring and analysing conversations, disinformation and threats around the ECB and its policies.
Jasmine El-Gamal
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Jasmine El-Gamal

Senior Manager, AMEA

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Jasmine El-Gamal
Jasmine El-Gamal

Senior Manager, AMEA

Jasmine is a Senior Manager for Africa, Middle East and Asia (AMEA) at ISD, where she is responsible for overseeing prevention of violent extremism (PVE) research and programming. From 2015-2020, Jasmine was a Senior Fellow with the Middle East program at the Atlantic Council, where she focused primarily on U.S. policies in the Middle East. From 2013-2015, Jasmine served as a Special Assistant to three consecutive Under Secretaries of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, where she advised on national security issues. From 2008-2013, Jasmine served as a Middle East advisor at the Pentagon, where she served three Secretaries of Defense. During her tenure, she prepared and staffed the Secretary of Defense on foreign trips and during Congressional briefings. She covered issues related to Iraq, Syria, the Arab Spring and ISIS, among others, and served as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy. From 2014-2016, Jasmine served as a translator and cultural advisor to the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants (OARDEC) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she provided briefings on Islam and Arab culture to incoming military officers in advance of their participation on the Review Boards. She conducted over 100 detainee interviews during her time at GTMO regarding their background and journey to Afghanistan and ensured the integrity of their testimony during their review boards, many of which resulted in the illumination of their unjust detention. In 2003, Jasmine served as a translator with a U.S. Civil Affairs team responsible for reconstruction in Southern Iraq, helping to facilitate communication and cooperation between U.S. forces and the local population in rebuilding the area. Her commentary has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time Magazine, CNN, Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, L’Orient du Jour, Sawt al Azhar, Al Masry Al Youm and other international outlets.
Helena Schwertheim
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Helena Schwertheim

Senior Digital Policy and Research Manager, ISD Germany

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Helena Schwertheim
Helena Schwertheim

Senior Digital Policy and Research Manager, ISD Germany

Helena Schwertheim is Senior Digital Policy and Research Manager at ISD Germany, where she leads the Digital Policy Lab (DPL), a new intergovernmental working group focused on policy responses to prevent and counter disinformation, hate speech and extremism. Helena also leads a team of analysts studying digital threats posed to democracy by disinformation, hate speech and extremism.  Previously, Helena managed digital policy and research projects at Democracy Reporting International. She also has experience working in risk and political analysis in international organizations and think tanks, including at the UN World Food Programme in Rome, and the think tank International IDEA in Stockholm.
Mauritius Dorn
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Mauritius Dorn

Digital Policy Fellow

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Mauritius Dorn
Mauritius Dorn

Digital Policy Fellow

Mauritius is a Digital Policy Fellow at ISD Germany, where he coordinates ISD’s digital policy recommendations on election-related online harms and presents them to political stakeholders at EU level and in Germany. He conducts disinformation trainings with political parties and candidates, coordinates with other stakeholders from academia and civil society, and assists in the design of awareness campaigns. Mauritius is also involved in the Digital Policy Lab (DPL), a new intergovernmental working group focused on policy responses to prevent and counter online disinformation, hate speech and extremism. Previously, Mauritius worked as a public affairs consultant in Berlin, advising clients from the public and private sector on their lobbying strategies in the area of digital policy and digital economy. Mauritius holds a MSc double degree in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences and Fudan University, and a BA in Sociology, Politics and Economics from Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen.
Christian Schwieter
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Christian Schwieter

Project Manager, Policy and Research, ISD Germany

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Christian Schwieter
Christian Schwieter

Project Manager, Policy and Research, ISD Germany

Christian Schwieter is a Project Manager at ISD Germany, leading the German-language research project on far-right activity on alternative and emerging online platforms. At ISD, Christian also co-led the pilot phase of the Digital Policy Lab, a new intergovernmental working group focused on charting the online policy path forward to prevent and counter disinformation, hate speech and extremism. Previously, Christian worked as a researcher for the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute, where he co-authored reports on state-backed information operations relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, Christian was the Specialist Adviser on Disinformation Matters for the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee at the House of Commons. Christian holds an MSc in Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford and a BA from Leiden University College The Hague.
Kata Balint
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Kata Balint

Analyst

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Kata Balint
Kata Balint

Analyst

Kata Balint is an Analyst on ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit, where she supports research on malign influence operations, disinformation, conspiracy theories and hate speech online. She has been involved in research around the world, using a range of data analysis tools and open source intelligence methods. Kata previously worked as an Analyst in the Radicalisation and Extremism Programme of Political Capital, an independent research institute based in Hungary, where she co-authored a number of research papers on far-right radicalisation and extremism, as well as political attitudes and behaviour, and was involved in radicalisation prevention activities. She gained her first professional experience working in the Office of the Hungarian Parliament and in the European Parliament. Kata completed her postgraduate studies in political psychology at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK, and she holds an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences in International Studies and Communication from Roskilde University, Denmark. Kata speaks Hungarian, English, Dutch and a bit of Danish.
Clara Martiny
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Clara Martiny

Digital Research Analyst

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Clara Martiny
Clara Martiny

Digital Research Analyst

Clara Martiny (she/her) is a Digital Research Analyst at ISD US, where she researches online hate, extremism, and disinformation in the US, and helps develop effective digital analysis methods for the Digital Analysis Unit. Prior to joining ISD, Clara worked for Media Matters for America as an Internet and Misinformation Researcher, where she tracked the online spread of harmful misinformation and right-wing protests across the US organized on online platforms. Her research was used in articles for The New York Times and Washington Post. Clara holds a BA in International Relations from Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, where she wrote her thesis on the online anti-quarantine movement during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Sara Bundtzen
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Sara Bundtzen

Research and Policy Associate, ISD Germany

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Sara Bundtzen
Sara Bundtzen

Research and Policy Associate, ISD Germany

Sara Bundtzen is a Research and Policy Associate at ISD Germany. She is involved in the Digital Policy Lab (DPL), a new intergovernmental working group focused on policy responses to prevent and counter online disinformation, hate speech and extremism. She also supports ISD’s wider research and advisory on election-related disinformation and influence campaigns, as well as extremism and terrorism-related content. Sara holds an MA in International Security from Sciences Po Paris and a BSc in European Studies from the University of Southern Denmark.