Aspen Digital empowers policy-makers, civic organizations, companies, and the public to be responsible stewards of technology and media in the service of an informed, just, and equitable world. A program of the Aspen Institute, we shine a light on urgent global issues across cybersecurity, the information ecosystem, emerging technology, the industry talent pipeline, tech and communications policy, and innovation. We then turn ideas to action and develop human solutions to these digital challenges.
Building on the Aspen Institute’s legacy programs in cybersecurity, tech policy, and media, we have expanded our work to innovate for greater outcomes. During a time of crisis, in 2020, Aspen Digital rose to the moment, launching new initiatives that focus on current and real needs, including:
- COVID-19 Challenge Grant – Funding tech solutions to help mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic
- Anti-racism Pledge Tracker – Monitoring commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion from US tech and media companies
- The Day After – Preparing every major US newsroom and tech platform for a potential contested election
- Fail Forward – Fostering innovation in local government by helping officials embrace their mistakes
- Axios Codebook – Leading the national conversation on cybersecurity and our future
We drive timely conversations to help the public make sense of this fast-changing world, and in 2020, we hosted more than 30 virtual programs since March. Over 6,000 joined us live, with 21,000+ YouTube views after the fact.
- A Post-Election Check-in on Our Information Ecosystems
- How News Media Covers Race in America
- COVID-19 and the Digital Divide
- Half-Truths, Lies, and Critical Information in a Pandemic
- Intimacy in Isolation: Tech and Human Connection
- Free Speech and the Internet
- …and many more
Our secret sauce, we convene decision-makers to drive change. Last year alone, we held more than 40 off-the-record virtual roundtables with over 1,700 expert participants.
- Government officials (Members of Congress, Secretaries of State)
- Law enforcement – Department of Justice, FBI, Secret Service
- Major newsroom executives from Associated Press, CNN, New York Times
- The big social media platforms: Facebook, Google, Twitter
- Industry leaders from Apple, IBM, Verizon
Influencing the public sector, we spur policy-making and change systems. A few 2020 examples include:
- Aspen Cybersecurity Group members Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Will Hurd jointly introduce legislation to transform cybersecurity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices that the government purchases. Resulting from conversations among this public-private cybersecurity forum, the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act was passed into law by Congress in November.
- The Aspen Tech Policy Hub’s guidance led DHS, in January, to change the process used for tracking online scams. The West Coast incubator partnered with the Cybercrime Support Network to help execute the work.
- A written memo from Aspen Digital, and consultations with the Cybersecurity Group, led the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service to include in its final report (published March 2020) a major recommendation to create a civilian cybersecurity reserve.
Want to learn more about how we made waves in 2020? Download our Impact Deck.
Thank You to Our Funders
Aspen Digital would like to thank the following organizations, who support our work toward the responsible stewardship of technology and media in service of an informed, just, and equitable world. Certain efforts are funded exclusively by foundations. These efforts are: the Commission on Information Disorder, the Aspen Cybersecurity Group, and the Aspen Tech Policy Hub. We do not receive any financial support from the broader Aspen Institute.
Aspen Digital has received funding of $1,000 or more from the following organizations in 2020 and 2021 to date. Aspen Digital retains full editorial control of its work, programs, and publications.
|Carnegie Corporation||American Gas Association|
|Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan||ASIS|
|Craig Newmark Philanthropies||AT&T|
|Knight Foundation||BetterUp, Inc.|
|Kresge Foundation||Charter Communications|
|Mastercard Impact Fund||Comcast|
|New Venture Fund||Deloitte|
|Rockefeller Brothers Fund|
|Schmidt Family Foundation||Hughes|
|Siegel Family Endowment||Intel|
|Silicon Valley Community Foundation||Meta|
|William & Flora Hewlett Foundation||New Street Research|