CFR Presents

Net Politics

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

Net Politics Book Review: Countdown to Zero Day

by Adam Segal Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, 350 km (217 miles) south of Tehran, on April 8, 2008. (Iranian Presidential official website/Courtesy Reuters) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, 350 km (217 miles) south of Tehran, on April 8, 2008. (Iranian Presidential official website/Courtesy Reuters)

The first public announcement of what became known as Stuxnet, the malware designed to slow Iran’s nuclear program, could have easily disappeared into the ether. VirusBlokAda, a little-known cybersecurity firm in Belarus, first noticed the new vulnerability and posted an announcement on their website and an online English-language security forum. After some early news reports about the code and moves to patch the initial vulnerability by Microsoft, it would have been natural for everyone involved to move on the next malware threat. No one had any reason to know what Stuxnet would become.

Read more »

How Long Will the Good Feelings Last in Internet Governance Discussions?

by Adam Segal Monday, November 24, 2014
Christopher Painter Lawrence Strickling Daniel Sepulveda Nuala O’Connor CFR Cyber Christopher Painter, Lawrence Strickling, Daniel Sepulveda, and Nuala O’Connor, November 20, 2014. (Sardari Group/Council on Foreign Relations)

What a difference two years make. In 2012, the World Conference on Information Technology meeting ended with a high degree of acrimony, with the United States and fifty-four others refusing to sign new International Telecommunication Regulations. Press reports focused on what was characterized as an effort by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to seize control over the Internet, the beginning of a new digital cold war, or both. Read more »

Live Now: Internet Governance After Busan

by Adam Segal Thursday, November 20, 2014
Christopher Painter Lawrence Strickling Daniel Sepulveda Nuala O’Connor CFR Cyber Christopher Painter, Lawrence Strickling, Daniel Sepulveda, and Nuala O’Connor, November 20, 2014. (Sardari Group/Council on Foreign Relations)

The Council on Foreign Relations is holding a half-day, multisession symposium to bring together leading policymakers and experts for analysis of the Internet governance landscape and to discuss new ideas for reform.

Read more »

Disclosing Policies on Zero-Days as a Confidence-Building Measure

by Alex Grigsby Tuesday, November 18, 2014
White House Special Assistant to the President and the Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel talks during the third day of Reuters CyberSecurity Summit in Washington, on May 14, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) White House Special Assistant to the President and the Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel talks during the third day of Reuters CyberSecurity Summit in Washington, on May 14, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

Alex Grigsby is the assistant director for the Digital and Cyberspace Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Yesterday, Kim Zetter of Wired published an interview with Michael Daniel, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator, in which Daniel provides more information about the U.S. government’s policy on disclosing zero-day vulnerabilities. Zero-days are security flaws in computer software that are unknown to the software’s developer and the public.  Read more »

Internet Governance after Busan

by Adam Segal Thursday, November 13, 2014
Members of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 in Busan, Korea, at the signing ceremony. (Courtesy ITU/I. Wood, available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/15545945060/) Members of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 in Busan, Korea, at the signing ceremony. (Courtesy ITU/I. Wood, available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/15545945060/)

The Plenipotentiary of the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ended last week, and the general consensus seems to be that biggest loser may be the rhetoric of the United Nations “taking over the Internet.” Resolutions that might have given the ITU greater authority over Internet matters were watered down or diverted. CFR’s Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program published three policy briefs before the meeting (the strategies of the United States, Germany, and India). Here are some other views from the web on how the meeting went.

Read more »

The Influence of the Chinese Internet

by Adam Segal Thursday, November 6, 2014
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma greets traders at the New York Stock Exchange as he celebrates the company's initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker "BABA", in New York on September 19, 2014. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters) Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma greets traders at the New York Stock Exchange as he celebrates the company's initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker "BABA", in New York on September 19, 2014. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters)

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released its 2014 statistical report on Internet development in China, and here are some of the highlights: Read more »

Net Politics Book Review: @War

by Adam Segal Tuesday, November 4, 2014
U.S. National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander testifies at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, on September 26, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander testifies at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, on September 26, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

Three days before he was to leave office, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his farewell address warning of the rise of the military-industry complex. Eisenhower described the “conjunction” of a large military establishment and arms industry unparalleled in American history and saw that its “total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government.” In his new book, @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex, journalist Shane Harris argues that the surveillance state and the defense contractors, tech giants, financial institutions, and telecommunication companies are forming a new alliance that will likewise shape cyberspace and American life.

Read more »