American society is more polarized than ever before. People are strategically being pushed apart by disinformation — the deliberate spreading of lies disguised as truth — and it comes at them from all sides: opportunists on the far right and Russian misinformed social media influencers, among others. It’s endangering democracy and causing havoc in America’s electoral system, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and the Capitol.

Advances in technology including rapid developments in artificial intelligence threaten to make the problems even worse by amplifying false claims and manufacturing credibility. In “Attack from Within: How Disinformation is Sabotaging America,” legal scholar and analyst Barbara McQuade, a former United States attorney and current law professor at the University of Michigan, shows us how to identify the ways disinformation is seeping into all facets of our society and how we can fight against it.

One Detroit and Detroit PBS partner with the Detroit Economic Club to present this virtual livestream. The conversation will begin at 12:35 p.m. ET and will be moderated by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.


About the Speakers:

Barbara McQuade headshotBarbara L. McQuade, BA ’87, JD ’91, is a professor from practice at Michigan Law. Her interests include criminal law, criminal procedure, national security, data privacy, and civil rights. From 2010 to 2017, McQuade served as the US attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Appointed by President Barack Obama, she was the first woman to serve in her position.

McQuade also served as vice chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and co-chaired its Terrorism and National Security Subcommittee. As US attorney, she oversaw cases involving public corruption, terrorism, corporate fraud, theft of trade secrets, civil rights, and health care fraud, among others. She also serves as a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. Her work has appeared in The Washington PostForeign PolicyLawfareJust SecuritySlate, and National Public Radio, and she has been quoted in The New York TimesTimeNewsweekPolitico, and other publications.

Before becoming US attorney, McQuade was an assistant US attorney in Detroit for 12 years, serving as deputy chief of the National Security Unit, where she handled cases involving terrorism financing, export violations, threats, and foreign agents. She began her career practicing law at the firm of Butzel Long in Detroit. She previously taught at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

McQuade has been recognized by the Detroit Free Press with the Neal Shine Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership, The Detroit News with the Michiganian of the Year Award, Crain’s Detroit Business as a Newsmaker of the Year and one of Detroit’s Most Influential Women, the Detroit Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Arab American Civil Rights League with their Tribute to Justice Award, and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity with its Diversity Award. McQuade is the author of “Attack from Within: How Disinformation is Sabotaging America.”

This biography was taken from the Detroit Economic Club.

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