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Net Politics

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

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Showing posts for "Campaign 2016"

President Obama’s Pursuit of Cyber Deterrence Ends in Failure

by David Fidler
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.

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Reading James Madison in Light of Twitter and Donald Trump

by David Fidler
CFR Cyber Net Politics James Madison Donald Trump Twitter James Madison, co-author of the Federalist Papers and fourth president of the United States.

The 2016 election, and its aftermath, has been filled with troubling information about online aspects of American politics. These problems include use of social media to disseminate misinformation and fake news (some linked to Russian propaganda activities), exploit the echo chamber phenomenon in online behavior, and prioritize incendiary speech. Controversy arose over the appointment to a White House position of someone who used online media to spout divisive rhetoric and provide digital succor to dangerous political views and groups.

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Democracy and Digital Technology After the 2016 Election

by David Fidler
CFR Cyber Net Politics U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters).

Efforts to understand the causes and consequences of Donald J. Trump’s victory are underway, and this election illuminates features about the relationship between democratic politics and digital technologies that require attention. In this campaign, the template of digital progressive politics pioneered by the 2008 and 2012 campaigns of Barack Obama failed Hillary Clinton. In its place, Trump produced a digital populism that repudiated the Obama template. The 2016 campaign also revealed problems with cybersecurity that undermine notions the United States made progress in this domestic and foreign policy realm over the past eight years.

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Congress Needs to Warn Russia on Election Interference

by Robert Knake
Cyber CFR Elections Net Politics A voter casts her ballot in the U.S. midterm elections in Ferguson, Missouri November 4, 2014. (Whitney Curtis/Reuters).

Responding to reports that Russian hackers stole voter lists in Arizona and Illinois, federal officials are scrambling to help states protect voting systems from cyberattacks in the next sixty days. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has warned election officials in all fifty states that voting systems could be compromised and offered federal support. Private cybersecurity firms have offered assistance on a pro bono basis as have a large number of white hat hackers.

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Is Hacking Hillary Clinton Russian Payback for the “Freedom to Connect”?

by David Fidler
CFR Cyber Net Politics Russia DNC Hack A protester in Moscow in 2011. (Sime Simon).

Allegations the Russian government hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and the Hillary Clinton campaign have generated intense attention, especially concerning the implications of possible Russian efforts to use the fruits of cyber espionage to influence the U.S. election. Although Russia rejects the allegations, these hacks might constitute payback for Clinton and Democrats, who championed direct U.S. cyber support for opponents of authoritarian regimes during the Obama administration. China and Russia have long complained the United States manipulates cyberspace to interfere in their domestic political affairs, and, under this perspective, airing the DNC’s digital dirty laundry through Wikileaks courtesy of Russian intelligence perhaps means turnabout is fair play.

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Why Democrats and Republicans Should Oppose Data Localization

by Guest Blogger
CFR Cyber Net Politics Data Localization RNC DNC Campaign 2016 A journalist records a video on floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. (Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters).

Anupam Chander is Martin Luther King, Jr. Research Professor and Director of the California International Law Center at UC Davis School of Law. He is the recipient of a Google Research Award supporting related research.

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Campaign 2016: Ben Carson on Cybersecurity

by Guest Blogger
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson uses his mobile phone while speaking in Henderson, Nevada November 16, 2015. Carson announced that he sent to a letter to Congress urging the termination of all public funding for the resettling of Syrian refugees into the U.S. (David Becker/Reuters)

Lincoln Davidson is a research associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson released a document last week outlining how his administration would deal with challenges to cybersecurity, making him the second candidate from either party to lay out a comprehensive proposal on cyber (the first was Jeb Bush, whose plan we looked at here). Carson argues that the United States’ reliance on the Internet makes cybersecurity an issue of critical national importance, and that a centrally-coordinated response is necessary if the country wishes to secure cyberspace “without stifling the creativity and freedom” it has brought. Read more »