Cyber - Publications Page
The Virus and the Vote: Administering the 2020 Election in a Pandemic
The final report of the findings of the Healthy Elections Project, a joint effort between Stanford and MIT and led by Nathaniel Persily and Charles Stewart III.
“The World is Swimming in a Sea of Rumors”: Influence Operations Associated with El Fagr Newspaper (Egypt) (TAKEDOWN)
On April 2, 2020 Twitter announced the takedown of a collection of data sets attributed to state influence operations in several countries. One of those datasets was attributed to actors within Egypt – specifically, accounts linked to the El Fagr newspaper. El Fagr has previously been named in coordinated inauthentic activity takedowns on Facebook and Instagram, which took down a network related to their pro-Egyptian government activity in October 2019.
The run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election illustrated how vulnerable our most venerated journalistic outlets are to a new kind of information warfare. Reporters are a targeted adversary of foreign and domestic actors who want to harm our democracy. And to cope with this threat, especially in an election year, news organizations need to prepare for another wave of false, misleading, and hacked information. Often, the information will be newsworthy.
Despite pressure from President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, Apple continues to stand its ground and refuses to re-engineer iPhones so law enforcement can unlock the devices. Apple has maintained that it has done everything required by law and that creating a "backdoor" would undermine cybersecurity and privacy for iPhone users everywhere.
Apple is right to stand firm in its position that building a "backdoor" could put user data at risk.
Analysis of Twitter Takedown of State-Backed Operation Attributed to Saudi Arabian Digital Marketing Firm Smaat (TAKEDOWN)
The Program on Democracy and the Internet runs the work of the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age which will produce guidelines to support democracies, particularly those of the global south.
When China's government announced its ambitions for the country’s theoretical, technological, and applied artificial intelligence development to reach a “worldleading level” by 2030, governments and markets worldwide took notice. So did DigiChina. The New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (AIDP), drafed by experts across China’s bureaucracy and issued by the State Council in July 2017, was one of this nascent project's first major translations.
China systematically extracts advanced technology from the West. It does so legally, by mining open source databases, investing in our most advanced companies, and compelling technology transfer as a condition for doing business in China, as well as illicitly, through cybertheft and industrial espionage.
The current regulatory and legislative infrastructure is poorly suited to address the new challenges to U.S. leadership and innovation in key technology sectors. This paper uses the semiconductor industry as a case study to advance a proposal for a strategic approach to technology policy capable of enabling long-term leadership. This proposal, rooted in structural changes to the federal technology policymaking process, would allow the United States to respond more effectively to strategic technology policymaking of China and other rising economic competitors.
In these early days of the regulatory renaissance for digital technologies, China, Europe, and the United States are competing over whose image will be most reflected in market-defining rules and norms. Despite new lows in the trans-Atlantic relationship in the era of Trump, Europe and the United States still have far more in common with each other about how technology should be developed, deployed, and regulated than they do with China.
Popular culture has contemplated societies of thinking machines for generations, envisioning futures from utopian to dystopian. These futures are, arguably, here now-we find ourselves at the doorstep of technology that can at least simulate the appearance of thinking, acting, and feeling. The real question is: now what?
Our national discussions about cybersecurity and privacy follow a frustrating pattern: a headline-grabbing incident like the recent Capital One breach occurs, Congress wrings its hands and policymakers more or less move on. So it is no surprise cybersecurity hasn't been much of a focus as the race to the 2020 presidential election heats up.
The issue is here to stay, and it should be debated by the candidates. Here are some concrete ideas that would significantly improve the safety and security of the nation — but require presidential leadership if they are to come to fruition.
Securing American Elections: Prescriptions for Enhancing the Integrity and Independence of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election and Beyond
This report urges policymakers, in both government and the private sector, to act immediately in order to protect the integrity and independence of U.S. elections, particularly in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, and recommends a number of actions in order to do so. This report was distributed at the launch of the new Cyber Policy Center on June 6th, 2019.
The fruits of a long anticipated technology finally hit the market, with promise to extend human life, revolutionize production, improve consumer welfare, reduce poverty, and inspire countless yet-imagined innovations. A marvel of science and engineering, it reflects the cumulative efforts of a generation of researchers backed by research funding from the U.S. government and private sector investments in (predominantly American) technology companies.
This essay closely examines the effect on free-expression rights when platforms such as Facebook or YouTube silence their users’ speech. The first part describes the often messy blend of government and private power behind many content removals, and discusses how the combination undermines users’ rights to challenge state action. The second part explores the legal minefield for users—or potentially, legislators—claiming a right to speak on major platforms. The essay contends that questions of state and private power are deeply intertwined.
Prenatal Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Early Development of Children in Rural Guizhou Province, China
Background: There is a substantial body of evidence supporting the association between maternal active smoking during pregnancy and child development, but the association between prenatal exposure to environmental tobaccos smoke (ETS) and early child development has not been well documented. This cross-sectional study examines the association between prenatal exposure to ETS and the development of children in their first two years of life.
Excerpt from: "Cyber Security Derailed? Recommendations for Smarter Investments in Infrastructure." War on the Rocks. November, 2018. Online.
A state-owned Chinese company receives a contract to build and maintain the next generation of railcars that service Metro stations at the Pentagon, near the White House and Capitol Hill, and throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area. What could possibly go wrong?
Prime Minister Theresa May’s political fortunes may be waning in Britain, but her push to make internet companies police their users’ speech is alive and well. In the aftermath of the recent London attacks, Ms. May called platforms like Google and Facebook breeding grounds for terrorism.