John Villasenor

Senior Fellow

 John Villasenor is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and is on the faculty at UCLA where he is a professor of electrical engineering, public policy, and management and a visiting professor of law. 

Villasenor’s work considers the broader impacts of key technology trends, including the move to the cloud, the globalization of technology product design and manufacturing, advances in digital communications and electronics, and the increasing complexity of today’s networks and systems. He writes frequently on these topics and on their implications with respect to cybersecurity, privacy, and law. He has published in The Atlantic, Billboard, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Fast Company, Forbes, the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Scientific American, Slate, the Washington Post, and many academic journals. He has also provided congressional testimony on multiple occasions on topics including drones, privacy, and intellectual property law.

Before joining the faculty at UCLA, Villasenor was with the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he developed methods of imaging the earth from space. He holds a BS from the University of Virginia and an MS and PhD from Stanford University. Villasenor is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an affiliate at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Why You Should Stop Worrying And Learn To Love Algorithms

by John Villasenorvia Slate
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

They get a bad rap—but that’s because people don’t understand them.

Analysis and Commentary

The Disrupter Series: The Fast-Evolving Uses And Economic Impacts Of Drones

by John Villasenorvia Energy and Commerce Committee
Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, November 19, 2015, at 10:15 a.m.

Analysis and Commentary

Financial And Digital Inclusion Project

by John Villasenorvia Brookings Institution
Monday, August 24, 2015

The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 21 countries.

Analysis and Commentary

If A Cyberattack Causes A Car Crash, Who Is Liable?

by John Villasenorvia Slate
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Last month, Wired published an account describing how security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to wirelessly hack into a Jeep Cherokee. After first taking control of the entertainment system and windshield wipers, they then disabled the accelerator.

Analysis and Commentary

Five Lessons On The 'Security Of Things' From The Jeep Cherokee Hack

by John Villasenorvia Forbes
Monday, July 27, 2015

Last week, Wired published an account describing how two security researchers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, were able to wirelessly hack into a Jeep Cherokee, first taking control of the entertainment system and windshield wipers, and then disabling the accelerator.

Analysis and Commentary

Five Ways To Improve Gender Equity In The Tech Sector

by John Villasenor, Rebecca Sadwickvia Forbes
Monday, June 15, 2015

In many respects, the technology sector in the United States is flying high these days. But when it comes to gender equity, the technology ecosystem, which prides itself on being a meritocracy in so many other respects, is failing badly.

Herbert Lin and John Villasenor
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Emerging Challenges in Cybersecurity

by Herbert Lin, John Villasenorvia Fellow Talks
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Herbert Lin, a senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University; and John Villasenor, a national fellow at Hoover and a professor of electrical engineering and public policy at the University of California at Los Angeles, discuss emerging technologies and the challenges of cybersecurity. 

Analysis and Commentary

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Key Considerations Regarding Safety, Innovation, Economic Impact, And Privacy

by John Villasenorvia US Senate
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security

Analysis and Commentary

Automation Has Already Saved Lives

by John Villasenorvia New York Times
Thursday, January 29, 2015

We can't afford not to take advantage of vehicle automation technologies. With proper design, testing and regulation, advanced vehicle automation has the potential to greatly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities attributable to motor vehicle accidents.

Youth Internet Safety: Risks, Responses, and Research Recommendations

by John Villasenor, Adina Farrukh, Rebecca Sadwickvia Brookings Institution
Monday, October 20, 2014

As Internet use by children and teenagers increases, so do concerns about their online safety. Providing a safe environment requires an in-depth understanding of the types and prevalence of online risks young Internet users face, as well as of the solutions most effective in mitigating these risks.