Cyber Policy Center

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Cyber Policy Center

The Cyber Policy Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is Stanford University's premier center for the interdisciplinary study of issues at the nexus of technology, governance and public policy. Through research, policy engagement, and teaching, the Cyber Policy Center works to bring cutting-edge solutions to national governments, international institutions, and industry.

Featured News and Publications from Our Programs

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January 27 | Europe’s Digital Services Act

What rules for the web? That question has been given new urgency on January 6th. The European Union, at the end of 2020, proposed the Digital Services Act (DSA). This new legislation aims at creating clarity about the responsibility of tech platforms and intermediaries. European rules, just as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) did, will likely have ripple effects worldwide.
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January 22: The Storming of the Capitol and the Future of Speech Online

Social media and digital technologies have come under fire for their contribution to the development of the groups that ultimately stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Following the insurrection attempt, Facebook, Twitter, Google and other major platforms have banned or suspended President Trump’s accounts. Join us for a look at the future of speech online.
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POLICY BRIEF | Election 2020: Social Media and Political Polarization

The emergence of a digital sphere where public debate takes place raises profound questions about the connection between online information and polarization, echo chambers, and filter bubbles. Does the information ecosystem created by social media companies support the conditions necessary for a healthy democracy? Is it different from other media? These are particularly urgent questions as the United States approaches a contentious 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Our Programs
  • Our Programs
  • Global Digital Policy Incubator
  • Stanford Internet Observatory
  • Program on Democracy and the Internet
  • Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance
  • The Program on Platform Regulation

Our Programs

The Cyber Policy Center is home to five programs, all focused on issues at the nexus of technology, governance and public policy. 

Global Digital Policy Incubator

The mission of the Global Digital Policy Incubator is to inspire policy and governance innovations that reinforce democratic values, universal human rights, and the rule of law in the digital realm. We serve as a collaboration hub for the development of norms, guidelines, and laws that enhance freedom, security, and trust in the global digital ecosystem. The bottom line question that guides this initiative: How do we help governments and private sector technology companies establish governance norms, policies, and processes that allow citizens and society to reap the upside benefits of technology, while protecting against the downside risks?

Stanford Internet Observatory

The Stanford Internet Observatory is a cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies, with a focus on social media. Under the program direction of computer security expert Alex Stamos, the Observatory was created to learn about the abuse of the internet in real time, to develop a novel curriculum on trust and safety that is a first in computer science, and to translate our research discoveries into training and policy innovations for the public good.

Program on Democracy and the Internet

The Program on Democracy and the Internet envisions digital technologies supporting rather than subverting democracy by maximizing the benefits and minimizing the threats through changes in policy, technology, and social and ethical technological norms. Through knowledge creation and education, and by leveraging the convening power of Stanford University, PDI creates and shares original empirical research around how digital technologies are impacting democracy to inform and educate decision-makers in the field, including the next generation of technologists, business leaders, and policymakers. 

Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance

The Program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance (GTG) is dedicated to world-class scholarly and policy-oriented research on the political, legal, and economic implications of digital innovation and global competition. Artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and a proliferation of smart, connected devices will revolutionize warfare and create new challenges and opportunities in statecraft. They will enable automation in countless domains, and lead to as of yet unknown applications that catalyze new industries and business models—and in the process, massively alter how economic value is created, captured and distributed, with ripple effects in the domestic politics of nations and the broader global political economy.

The Program on Platform Regulation

The Program on Platform Regulation, headed by Daphne Keller, focuses on current or emerging law governing Internet platforms, with an emphasis on laws’ consequences for the rights and interests of Internet users and the public.


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INTERNET OBSERVATORY BLOG: Fake Profiles, Real Children

A look at the use of stolen child imagery in social media role-playing games
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STANFORD REWIRED: Black Voters Matter, by Alessandro Vecchiato

From Stanford Rewired: How a group of activists is using technology to empower Black voters, Authored by the Program on Democracy and the Internet's Alessandro Vecchiato.
President Donald Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham during an event about judicial confirmations, Nov. 6, 2019, in Washington. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

SLATE | Trump-Backed Rules for Online Speech: No to Porn, Yes to Election Disinformation and Hate Speech, by Daphne Keller

As we move deeper into the scrum of election season, politicians are becoming more overt in telling platforms like Twitter or Facebook what legal speech they should tolerate, and what they should take down. Some of this pressure takes the form of draft legislation, including a recent proposal from the Justice Department and another from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Contact Us

Cyber Policy Center | Encina Hall | 616 Jane Stanford Way | Stanford University | Stanford, CA 94305-6165 | (650) 724-6814

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