News Roundup from the Cyber Policy Center | January 2022

News, highlights, publications, events and opportunities from our programs and scholars

The Winter Webinar Series, co-sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation and the Program on Democracy and the Internet (PDI), continues with The Quantum Age, with Chris Hoofnagle, Faculty Director of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at UC Berkeley and Zahra Takhshid, Assistant Professor of Law at University of Denver's Sturm College of Law. The session will explore the strange, powerful and sometimes frightening capabilities of quantum technologies.  

Election Integrity

Alex Stamos and Matt Masterson of the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) gave witness statements during a Committee on Homeland Security hearing on how mis- and disinformation, and months of false narrative building led to threats to election officials and the events of January 6th, 2021.

Nate Persily of the Program on Democracy and the Internet (PDI) spoke with CNN on the challenge of sounding an alarm without questioning outcomes for No, Biden and Trump Are Not Alike on Election Legitimacy

Trust and Safety

Riana Pfefferkorn of SIO authored The UK Has A Voyeuristic New Propaganda Campaign Against Encryption for Techdirt and spoke at the Enigma Conference for Content-Oblivious Trust and Safety Techniques: Results from a Survey of Online Service Providers.

David Thiel of SIO co-authored Accessibility for Trust and Safety Flows with Samantha Bradshaw, a look at how platform reporting flows and context labels work (or in many cases, don't) with screen readers for the visually impaired.

Democracy and Human Rights

Daphne Keller of the Program on Platform Regulation (PPR) spoke with Slate for The Future of Free Speech Online May Depend on This Database, about the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, or, as it’s been called, “the most underrated project in the future of free speech.”


DigiChina produced a new translation of China's Central Commission for Cybersecurity and Informatization's 14th Five-Year Plan for National Informatization. It was translated by Rogier Creemers, Hunter Dorwart, Kevin Neville, and Kendra Schaefer and edited by Johanna Costigan and Graham Webster.

Platform Regulation

David Thiel of SIO was a guest on the Big Technology Podcast for The Rise Of Conservative Social Media about the rise of conservative social media platform Gettr, its growth and funding, and how "mainstream social network policies open the door for its success."

Julie Owono of the Content Policy & Society Lab (CPSL), part of PDI, spoke with Aerica Shimizu Banks on Banks's findings that long before the disinformation campaigns of 2016 and 2020, troll farms and domestic threats to elections, Black women saw the alt-right threat coming, for the seminar Inclusive Content Moderation Is Innovative Content Moderation.

Renée DiResta and Shelby Grossman of SIO, together with Alexandra Siegel, authored the research article In-House Vs. Outsourced Trolls: How Digital Mercenaries Shape State Influence Strategies.


The Program on Democracy and the Internet (PDI) is soliciting papers for a new initiative called Digital Technologies in Emerging Countries: Impacts and Responses (DTEC). The project seeks to explore the implications of new digital technologies on developing economies and societies, focusing on their political impacts, and analyze policy responses to them. Papers will be presented at a convening in the fall of 2022. Application deadline is February 28.

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committee on homeland security logo

Committee on Homeland Security Hosts Stanford Internet Observatory Experts for Securing Democracy Hearing

The Stanford Internet Observatory's Matt Masterson and Alex Stamos spoke at a virtual hearing on the importance of policy work in order to secure American elections.
Committee on Homeland Security Hosts Stanford Internet Observatory Experts for Securing Democracy Hearing
An illustration of the experience of using a poorly coded website with a screen reader. The illustration shows three mockups of a smartphone screen with each selectable choice saying only "button". Behind the buttons is a blurred image of a computer.

Accessibility for Trust and Safety Flows

How well do platform reporting flows and context labels work with screen readers for the visually impaired?
Accessibility for Trust and Safety Flows