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, working groups and information exchanges have brought together officials from 13 countries and the EU. Currently, the DPL includes representation from government agencies from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the EU Commission.

In the autumn of 2022, the Digital Policy Lab is focusing on implementing platform data access for public interest research in practice, through a series of sessions and a multistakeholder working group. For researchers to gain a deeper understanding of how the information environment works, and assess risks and private sector mitigations, they require meaningful and comprehensive data access. Such access should be the foundation of any regulatory and non-regulatory interventions that address the societal risks posed by platforms.

All DPL sessions are accompanied by the Policy Digest newsletter, which provides general updates on recent digital policy developments in DPL member countries, including regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives aiming to combat online harms such as disinformation, hate speech, extremist or terrorist content. In addition to general updates, each Policy Digest provides a snapshot of topic-specific schemes relevant to the upcoming DPL session. All Policy Digests are available here.

Past DPL discussions:
The DPL discussions build on the previous sessions over the years, keeping in step with digital policy developments. In 2020 and 2021, the DPL 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 briefs, which are available to download in English and German.

In early 2022, DPL discussions explored risk-based digital policy responses and discussed instruments for formulating, designing and conducting risk assessment of online platforms. Due to the unprecedented nature of the risk-based approach outlined in the EU’s Digital Services Act, these discussions drew on European examples but always with the aim of informing policy discussions and proposals in other contexts.

Special DPL sessions allow the Lab to discuss new and developing issues facing the digital policy landscape. Following the elections in several DPL countries, in 2021 a special session focused on the range of harms impacting the integrity of elections, providing an overview of the complex threat environment, from extremism, targeted harassment of politicians and election workers, to disinformation and conspiracy theories. Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a special session reflected on platform responses to information manipulation regarding the invasion of Ukraine.

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.

Digital Policy Digests banner. Click here to go to the Digital Policy Digests page

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).
Huberta von Voss
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Huberta von Voss

Executive Director, ISD Germany

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Huberta von Voss
Huberta von Voss

Executive Director, ISD Germany

Huberta von Voss is Executive Director at ISD Germany, where she has led the expansion of ISD's German office since 2019. She has previously been part of the leadership team of the New York based NGO Seeds of Peace. Her efforts as Director for Public Affairs and Communications led to steep digital growth, new media engagement, a Podcast series as well as a series of high level events in New York and Washington, D.C. Huberta is the author of "Portraits of Hope: The Armenians in the contemporary world" (Berghahn Books) as well as "Arme Kinder, reiches Land" (Rowohlt) on child poverty in post-reunification Germany. She has appeared on various German and international TV shows and is fluent in English and French. She serves on several boards, among them United Ways Germany, to foster social cohesion. Huberta was awarded the Leo Baeck Medal (2018) and the BGA Medal of Honor by the British-German Association. She is a member of the Young Leader network of the BMW Foundation and an alumni of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
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 Elections and Digital Integrity at ISD where she works across elections, democracy, and the wider impact of online harms on society. In addition to leading election programming, Jiore advises global leaders on mitigating online harms in general, including work to advance tech policy reform and tech accountability at a global scale. She has extensive international experience, previously spending eight years helping elected officials, political leaders, media organizations, academic institutions and civic society organizations across five continents to research, measure, and effectively mitigate the impact of disinformation and influence operations on public opinion and elections. She previously built a digital research and communications practice serving Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and the US at a global political consulting firm. Jiore’s work informed the design of major coalition efforts to counter disinformation in the 2020 US and 2019 European Parliament elections. In 2022, Jiore testified for the U.S. Congressional House Administration Elections Subcommittee Hearing on “A Growing Threat: Foreign and Domestic Sources of Disinformation”. She is a member of Issue One’s Council for Responsible Social Media. Her work is cited in The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The L.A. Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and she has been a featured guest in election broadcast programs around the world, including 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 Digital Policy

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Henry Tuck
Henry Tuck

Head of Digital Policy

Henry Tuck is the Head of Digital Policy at ISD, where he leads Advisory work on digital regulation and tech company responses to terrorism, extremism, hate and dis/misinformation online. Henry oversees ISD’s Digital Policy Lab (DPL) and engagement on key digital regulation proposals in Europe and Five Eyes countries, advises key governments, international organisations and major private sector tech companies, and collaborates with ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit to translate research into actionable digital policy recommendations. Having joined ISD in 2013, Henry has previously worked across a variety of ISD’s Analysis and Action programmes, including education, on- and offline counter-extremism interventions, and civil society networks. 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.
Mauritius Dorn
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Mauritius Dorn

Senior Digital Policy and Education Manager

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Mauritius Dorn
Mauritius Dorn

Senior Digital Policy and Education Manager

Mauritius is a Senior Digital Policy and Education Manager 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.
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.
Sara Bundtzen
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Sara Bundtzen

Research and Policy Analyst, ISD Germany

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Sara Bundtzen
Sara Bundtzen

Research and Policy Analyst, ISD Germany

Sara Bundtzen is a Research and Policy Analyst 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.
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. 
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.