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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 "Government policy"

Dangers Multiply for Human Rights in Cyberspace as RightsCon Approaches

by David Fidler
Protesters walk past a mock gravestone that reads "RIP Freedom of Speech" during a protest against new licensing regulations imposed by the government for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 8, 2013. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

RightsCon takes place later this month in Brussels. Since its inception in 2011, RightsCon–the annual conference of Access Now–has been one of the primary gatherings where human rights activists, politicians, technologists, scholars, and businesses discuss issues at the intersection between human rights promotion and the internet. Unlike previous iterations, the stakes for this year’s event are undeniably higher given the current disruptive political environment that threatens human rights in real space and cyberspace.

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Does Free Wi-Fi Improve Internet Accessibility in South Africa?

by Guest Blogger
A worker is seen atop of a mobile phone tower in Zurich, Switzerland September 1, 2016. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

Chenai Chair and Broc Rademan are researchers at Research ICT Africa, a public-interest research organization that examines information and communication technology policy in Africa. You can find them @RIAnetwork.

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The Trump Administration Plays Right into Russia’s Information Warfare Strategy

by David Fidler
Painted Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, bearing the faces of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are displayed for sale at a souvenir shop in central Moscow, Russia November 7, 2016. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters).

In discussing what President Trump might do in cybersecurity, an acquaintance sent me a hyperlink to a story supporting his perspective. The link contained an article from RT, formerly known as Russia Today–a tool of the Russian government. The link appeared during our robust sharing of ideas, not as a warning about Russian propaganda. But, there, in my email inbox was a manifestation of Russian information warfare.

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“You’re Fired!” Will Not Fix Federal Cybersecurity

by Robert Knake
Donald Trump, former host of the NBC television reality series "The Apprentice", says his catch line from the show as he arrives at a casting call for the sixth season of the show at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles March 10, 2006. (Fred Prouser/Reuters).

Earl Crane, former director for federal cybersecurity at the National Security Council and founder of Emergent Network Defense, co-authored this piece. 

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New Report: Rebuilding Trust Between Silicon Valley and Washington

by Adam Segal
A man takes a picture of the U.S. Capitol in 2013. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

It would be an understatement to say that the United States faces cybersecurity risks that threaten its economic, political and strategic interests. Despite the Obama administration’s best efforts (and there were many), the United States still faces considerable cyber policy challenges. Data localization policies test the business models of U.S. tech companies and limit the free flow of data necessary to the growth of digital trade. State-sponsored actors continue to target U.S. companies to pilfer proprietary data or trade secrets and the U.S. government for intelligence purposes. The issue of encryption continues to divide the U.S. tech community and law enforcement, a debate that has ripple effects worldwide.

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

by David Fidler
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.

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Year in Review: Militaries Got More Cyber in 2016

by Guest Blogger
CFR Cyber Net Politics Smoke and flame rise after what fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) said were U.S.-led air strikes on the mills of Manbij where Islamic State militants are positioned, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria June 16, 2016. (Rodi Said/Reuters).

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

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Takeaways From a Trip to the National Security Agency

by Adam Segal
CFR Cyber Net Politics NSA An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland. (NSA/Handout via Reuters)

A few weeks ago, I was part of a “National Thought Leaders” visit to the National Security Agency. Famously secretive and opaque (see, No Such Agency), the NSA started conducting this type of outreach after the Snowden disclosures in an attempt to correct what it saw as misunderstandings about its surveillance and intelligence roles. The day consisted of briefings from high level officials involved in NSA operations, information assurance, legal authorities, industry partnerships, and privacy and civil liberties oversight. We also spoke with Cyber Command officials. The briefings were conducted according to Chatham House rules, and below are some of my takeaways, unattributed to any one official. Read more »