Lab Faculty Co-Teach "Cyber Flash Points" Seminar on Global Cyber Governance

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Internet Governance Lab Director Dr. Laura DeNardis, AU School of Communication Professor, and Faculty Fellow Jennifer Daskal, Associate Professor of Law at AU Washington College of Law, are co-teaching the COMM-696/LAW-795CY weekly seminar "Cyber Flash Points" this semester, which examines the growing body of interdisciplinary literature and theory around global cyber governance. Each class opens with a 15-minute flash talk explaining how the technical architecture of the Internet works.

The most challenging and consequential problems of the contemporary era are now mediated by conflicts over Internet governance. Every sector of society, industry, and the political sphere is dependent upon digital technologies to function, but many of the global debates determining conditions of speech, privacy, the pace of innovation, and national security in this environment are completely unsettled.

The course aims to help students understand the technical infrastructure of the Internet and the distributed ecosystem of actors and systems that now control it; provide in-depth knowledge of some of the most critical contemporary public policy debates over Internet governance; and allow students to develop their own evidence-based normative positions on how major problems in cyber governance should be addressed.

Selected course topics and case studies include: Russian election interference and fake news; Snowden and surveillance; Gamergate and hate speech; Stuxnet and cyber conflict; the Apple encryption debate; the Internet of things; the Microsoft Ireland case; the Great Firewall of China and censorship; cryptocurrency; the dark web; privacy and speech; and artificial intelligence.

As a special event of the course, on October 18, 2018, the documentary film "Black Code" will be screened at AU's Tenley Campus Yuma Hall Room YT16. Based on Professor Ron Deibert’s book of the same name, the film exposes how governments around the world are manipulating the Internet to control and censor their citizens. It explores the ideas of citizenship and democracy, and the complex impact the Internet has had on free speech, privacy, and activism. The film screening is open to the AU community.

The "Cyber Flash Points" course stems from a Provost-level initiative supporting collaborative, interdisciplinary courses on cutting edge topics.