CFR Presents

Net Politics

CFR experts investigate the impact of information and communication technologies on security, privacy, and international affairs.

The Continued Importance of the U.S.-China Cyber Dialogue

by Adam Segal Monday, January 23, 2017
Participants run past the Tiananmen gate, with a portrait of China's late leader Mao Zedong hanging on it, during the Beijing International Marathon in Beijing, China, September 20, 2015. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters) Participants run past the Tiananmen gate, with a portrait of China's late leader Mao Zedong hanging on it, during the Beijing International Marathon in Beijing, China, September 20, 2015. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

During the second week of January, I was in Beijing for the tenth round of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) Cybersecurity Dialogue. Government officials, think tank analysts, and academics participate in the meeting, and previous discussions have covered issues such as norms, state responsibilities in cyberspace, and crisis escalation and communication. The meetings have also included scenarios (which have in the past been inaccurately reported as “war games“) that allow the two sides to talk through how they might respond to certain types of cyberattacks and what they would expect from other nation-states in terms of cooperation and communication.

Read more »

Cyber Week in Review: January 6, 2017

by Adam Segal Friday, January 6, 2017
U.S. Defence Under secretary for Intelligence Marcel Lettre (L), Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Rogers testify before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on foreign cyber threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 5, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters). U.S. Defence Under secretary for Intelligence Marcel Lettre (L), Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Rogers testify before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on foreign cyber threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 5, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

Happy New Year! Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:

Read more »

President Obama’s Pursuit of Cyber Deterrence Ends in Failure

by David Fidler Wednesday, January 4, 2017
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 17, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 17, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

The Obama administration responded to Russia’s cyber operations against Democratic National Committee officials last week. The punitive measures seek to deter Russia, and other adversaries, from cyber-related interference with U.S. elections. This strategy connects to the importance President Obama placed on deterrence in cybersecurity. His administration tried to strengthen cyber defenses (deterrence by denial), clarify international law’s application in cyberspace and develop international cyber norms (deterrence by norms), and threaten punishment for hostile cyber operations (deterrence by punishment). However, the election hacking episode highlights how the president’s efforts to achieve deterrence for cybersecurity have failed.

Read more »

The Year in Review: Russia and the 2016 U.S. Election

by Adam Segal Thursday, December 29, 2016
CFR Cyber Net Politics Russia Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) chairs a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia on September 21, 2016. (Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin via Reuters).

Move over Comment Panda and Putter Panda, make way for Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear. 2016 was the year Russian hackers pushed their Chinese counterparts out of the limelight, becoming a major focus of the presidential election and transition, and driving policy discussions about attribution, norms, deterrence, and countering information operations and fake news. How the United States responds to the hacking of the presidential election, or doesn’t, will have a far-ranging impact on domestic cybersecurity and state behavior in cyberspace.

Read more »

The Year in Review: Major Setbacks for Digital Trade in 2016

by David Fidler Wednesday, December 28, 2016
TPP e-commerce chapter Net Politics Cyber CFR A worker gathers items for delivery from the warehouse floor at Amazon's distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona November 22, 2013. (Ralph D. Freso /Reuters)

What a difference one year makes. When 2015 ended, prospects for digital trade looked good. In bilateral, regional, and multilateral contexts, initiatives were advancing that were, in part, designed to increase opportunities for digital commerce and strengthen rules for it. The European Union launched its Digital Single Market strategy and was negotiating the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the United States. In addition to TTIP, the United States concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with eleven countries, and was negotiating the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) with over twenty nations and the European Union.

Read more »