Faculty Director Dr. Derrick Cogburn Speaks at OU Cyber Governance and Policy Center

IMG_7146Internet Governance Lab Co-Director Dr. Derrick Cogburn, who holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor in the School of International Service and Kogod School of Business, returned to his home state to speak on multistakeholder global governance and policy issues at the University of Oklahoma and University of Central Oklahoma on November 13-14, 2017.

IMG_7123Dr. Cogburn was part of the inaugural Speaker Series hosted by the Cyber Governance and Policy Center at the University of Oklahoma – his alma mater – on November 13. His lecture entitled “Partners or Pawns? Exploring Multistakeholder Participation in Global Governance of the Information Society” discussed the challenges and opportunities of multiple actors in governing the information society. This talk was based on Dr. Cogburn’s decades-long work and his most recent book Transnational Advocacy Networks in the Information Society: Partners or Pawns?

IMG_7118Dr. Cogburn was joined by Dr. Kenneth Rogerson of Duke University who presented his talk “Do You Trust What You ‘Like?’ Navigating Social Media and Politics.”

Dr. Cogburn also participated in a series of media interviews about his research and today’s global governance landscape while at the University of Oklahoma.

IMG_6666The aim of the Cyber Governance and Policy Center’s Speaker Series is to facilitate the development of research-based policies surrounding modern information and communications technology and cyber physical systems. The center provides a platform to discuss these issues and provide relevant information to the community surrounding University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Cogburn subsequently visited the University of Central Oklahoma on November 14 for a lecture on his book and a series of meetings as well.

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Faculty Fellow Dr. Eric Novotny Presents on “Circumventing Censorship with New Technologies”

On Thursday, November 16th at 3pm, the Internet Governance Lab Roundtable Speaker Series will host Dr. Eric Novotny of American University’s School of International Service for a discussion on emerging information communication technologies designed to circumvent censorship and their impacts on freedom of expression and privacy online.

The event will take place in SIS 260 at AU’s School of International Service.

As Dr. Novotny explains:

Censorship on the world wide web by governments continues to be a barrier and a threat to freedom of speech, ideas, and information. Regimes use various techniques such as IP blocking, DNS poisoning, and DPI to interfere with traffic among clients and servers. Almost all contemporary, operational circumvention technologies rely on network access and routing through proxies or bridges to obfuscate traffic between their client and an intended host.  Increasing capabilities are surfacing that will challenge the utility of such end-to-end proxy techniques.  Refraction routing is an emerging technique that takes an end-to-middle approach to the problem by building anti-censorship into the core of the Internet architecture.  This discussion introduces the general problem of circumvention technology and compares various ways that refraction routing can be implemented on the world wide web.  These techniques may provide significantly stronger resistance to common forms of blocking by repressive governments and also provide collateral cybersecurity benefits.  One method for implementing refraction routing has already been successfully field tested to overcome blocking and will be discussed.

All are welcome and we look forward to a lively discussion of the topic following Dr. Novotny’s presentation.

Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Andrew Rens on “Emerging Issues in the Internet of Things” at The Centre for Internet & Society

Andrew RensAU Internet Governance Lab Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Andrew Rens gave a talk on “Emerging Issues in the Internet of Things” at the Centre for Internet & Society in Bengaluru, India on October 23, 2017. The talk was based on his research about the complex problems that are emerging around the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), including ownership and control, privacy and surveillance, and ubiquity and network fragility.

The talk also discussed the governance of the IoT, which is equally complex with multiple sites of governance and actors operating across legal borders. Questions raised included: How will legal regulation, standards and the architecture of technology determine how the IoT is configured, and reconfigured in response to problems? What forces will influence the governance of the IoT? What role will permission-less innovation play? How will intellectual property laws complicate the IoT?

#DataLove: A new norm for data security?

By Erica ‘Diya’ Basu

Harlo Holmes, Director of Newsroom Digital Security at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, led a Digital Security Clinic on Friday, October 13 at American University’s School of Communication. The session was co-sponsored by AU’s Internet Governance Lab, the Center for Media & Social Impact and the Internet Society of Washington, DC.

AU SOC Associate Professor Aram Sinnreich opened the discussion by highlighting the fact that digital security is a cultural issue and called on the audience to embrace a social norm of #DataLove, placing people at the center of digital security discussions. Policy circles have tended to view digital security primarily through a binary lens, between the geopolitical exigencies of national sovereignty and security and the economic drivers of commercial profit and competitive edge.

Harlo grounded her discussion on a “Threat Modeling” tool to assess digital security vulnerabilities. A practical, four-part schema that individuals could use to not feel overwhelmed and gain control of what was at stake with one’s online information. Ask yourself four questions. What assets or what is it that I am protecting – passwords, personal information, emails, photographs, financial data? Who is the adversary, who am I protecting this information from – companies, hackers, social and professional enemies, governments? What resources do my adversaries have, to access this information – technical expertise, time, monetary resources? How far will I go and what are my abilities to protect my assets – gain information, invest in anti-malware software, use better authentication options? The sheer practicality of the model resonated well with the audience especially considering recent data breaches reported by Yahoo, Target, Equifax, and Whole Foods. And reports of stalking and cyberbullying incidents on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. We have either been victims ourselves or know of family and friends who have been affected by their data being stolen or whose identities were compromised on the Internet.

Harlo provided useful tips on managing one’s digital “assets,” like using pass-phrases instead of passwords, password manager software, two-factor authentication and physical USB keys to secure our online data. She encouraged the use of end-to-end encryption platforms like Signal and WhatsApp, and reminded the audience of the distinct kinds of phishing ploys that “adversaries” may use to access our devices and our data. 

Developing a culture of #DataLove may be the way forward as we navigate a hyper-networked world. Where our attitudes about digital security may often be at odds with our actions as we voluntarily and involuntarily leave larger and deeper digital footprints on the Internet. To this end, Harlo’s fourth question from the Threat Modeling tool was a telling one – how far will we go to protect our online assets and improve our digital security?

Check out the presentation below, which begins at the 22:42 minutes.

 

Orwell’s 1984 and the Contemporary Cyber Surveillance State

On Wednesday, October 18th, from 3-4:30 pm in Batelle-Tompkins Atrium, the American University Literature Department and the Internet Governance Lab will host a colloquium on Orwell’s 1984 and its relevance to the contemporary cyber context.

All sectors of the economy and society are now digitally mediated, made possible by the Faustian bargain of pervasive and privatized surveillance in which citizens relinquish personal data in exchange for free services. Authoritarian and democratic nation-states alike enact expansive surveillance, either for politically motivated censorship, identification of dissidents, or law enforcement and intelligence gathering. The same technologies that have provided unprecedented opportunities for creative expression, innovation, and free speech are used for all manner of social, political, and economic control. Modern flashpoints such as the Snowden NSA surveillance disclosures and Russia’s cybersecurity incursions and influence campaigns during the 2016 American presidential election have attracted greater public attention to longstanding tensions between cybersecurity and human rights. This panel will bring together experts in cyberpolitics and cybersecurity to examine Orwell’s 1984 through the lens of the contemporary cyber-surveillance state. How has the language of Orwell shaped/constructed modern cyber discourses? How do the modern surveillance state and underlying political tensions differ from Orwell’s dystopian vision? How would 1984 have been re-written in light of contemporary technological capabilities? Speakers include:

Moderator: Dr. Linda Voris
Professor in the Department of Literature
American University

Dr. Derrick Cogburn
Faculty Director, Internet Governance Lab at American University
Professor in the School of International Service

Dr. Laura DeNardis
Author of The Global War for Internet Governance (Yale University Press)
SOC Professor and Faculty Director, Internet Governance Lab at American University

Dr. Eric Novotny
Professor in the School of International Service
Faculty Fellow, Internet Governance Lab at American University

Colonel (Ret) Randolph Rosin
Faculty of the National Intelligence University
Internet Governance Lab Research Fellow