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Internet Platforms: Observations On Speech, Danger, And Money

by Daphne Kellervia Lawfare
Friday, June 15, 2018

Public demands for internet platforms to intervene more aggressively in online content are steadily mounting. Calls for companies like YouTube and Facebook to fight problems ranging from "fake news" to virulent misogyny to online radicalization seem to make daily headlines.

Internet Platforms: Observations on Speech, Danger, and Money

by Daphne Kellervia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Policymakers increasingly ask Internet platforms like Facebook to “take responsibility” for material posted by their users. Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders seem willing to do so. That is in part a good development. Platforms are uniquely positioned to reduce harmful content online. But deputizing them to police users’ speech in the modern public square can also have serious unintended consequences. This piece reviews existing laws and current pressures to expand intermediaries’ liability for user-generated content. It discusses three ways that poorly designed laws can do damage—to First Amendment-protected online speech, national security, and the economy.

Strengths Become Vulnerabilities

by Jack Goldsmith, Stuart Russellvia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

This essay seeks to explain why the United States is struggling to deal with the “soft” cyberoperations that have been so prevalent in recent years: cyberespionage and cybertheft, often followed by strategic publication; information operations and propaganda; and relatively low-level cyber disruptions such as denial-of-service and ransomware attacks. The main explanation for the struggle is that constituent elements of U.S. society—a commitment to free speech, privacy, and the rule of law, innovative technology firms, relatively unregulated markets, and deep digital sophistication—create asymmetric weaknesses that foreign adversaries, especially authoritarian ones, can exploit. We do not claim that the disadvantages of digitalization for the United States outweigh the advantages, but we present reasons for pessimism.

asia

A Helsinki Conference for Asia

by Philip Bobbittvia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, April 26, 2018

This paper proposes a comprehensive set of agreements to resolve the current crisis over North Korean nuclear capabilities. This settlement envisages a peace conference that would end the Korean War, recognize current borders as inviolate, and accord current regimes international recognition by all parties. This agreement depends upon China offering North Korea a guarantee of extended deterrence against the United States or its allies in exchange for North Korean denuclearization under stringent UN inspections.

Encryption Policy And Its International Impacts: A Framework For Understanding Extraterritorial Ripple Effects

by Ryan Budish, Herbert Burkert , Urs Gasser via Aegis Paper Series
Friday, March 2, 2018

This paper explores the potential international ripple effects that can occur following changes to domestic encryption policies.  Whether these changes take the form of a single coherent national policy or a collection of independent (or even conflicting) policies, the impacts can be unexpected and wide-ranging.  This paper offers a conceptual model for how the ripple effects from national encryption policies might propagate beyond national borders. And we provide a set of factors that can help policy-makers anticipate some of the most likely ripple effects of proposed encryption policies.

The ‘China, Inc.+’ Challenge To Cyberspace Norms

by Robert D. Williamsvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

This paper explores two aspects of China’s governance model that pose distinctive challenges to the construction of international cyberspace norms: the embedded and intertwined nature of the Communist Party-state in China’s economy and the expansive conception of national security reflected in Chinese laws and policies. Viewed in conjunction with Chinese cyberspace strategy and activity, these characteristics of “China, Inc. +” raise vexing questions with considerable implications for US-China relations.

Small Towns, Big Companies: How Surveillance Intermediaries Affect Small And Midsize Law Enforcement Agencies

by Anne Bousteadvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This paper explores how efforts by companies to resist government requests for consumer information may disproportionately affect small and mid-sized law enforcement agencies, as small departments face obstacles to using commercially collected information that do not occur in the context of larger departments. Differences between law enforcement agencies that serve large communities and those that serve small communities suggest corresponding differences in their ability to adapt to changes in the process for obtaining data from digital communication companies.  Failing to account for these differences may encourage policies that will only work as expected for large law enforcement agencies.

A Rubicon

by Dan Geervia Aegis Paper Series
Friday, February 2, 2018

Optimality and efficiency work counter to robustness and resilience. Complexity hides interdependence, and interdependence is the source of black swan events.  The benefits of digitalization are not
transitive, but the risks are.  Because single points of failure
require militarization wherever they underlie gross societal
dependencies, frank minimization of the number of such single points
of failure is a national security obligation.  Because cascade
failure ignited by random faults is quenched by redundancy, whereas
cascade failure ignited by sentient opponents is exacerbated by
redundancy, (preservation of) uncorrelated operational mechanisms
is likewise a national security obligation.

Nobody But Us

by Ben Buchananvia Hoover Institution
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This paper examines how the NOBUS approach works, its limits, and the challenging matter of what comes next. Traditionally, signals intelligence is neatly bifurcated into offense and defense: intercept adversaries’ communication technology and protect one’s own. In the modern era, however, there is great convergence in the technologies used by friendly nations and by hostile ones. Signals intelligence agencies find themselves penetrating the technologies they also at times must protect. To ease this tension, the United States and its partners have relied on an approach sometimes called Nobody But Us, or NOBUS: target communications mechanisms using unique methods accessible only to the United States.

How China’s Views on the Law of Jus ad Bellum Will Shape Its Legal Approach to Cyberwarfare

by Julian G. Kuvia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, August 17, 2017

This paper concludes that the Chinese government has adopted a strict positivist reading of the UN Charter’s limitations on the use of force that brooks no exceptions for humanitarian interventions and with a narrowly construed exception for self defense. Since China has not shown any willingness to abandon this legal approach to the law of jus ad bellum codified in the Charter, it is unlikely that China will embrace the US legal approach to cyberwarfare. Rather, China will probably use its restrictive reading of the UN Charter to garner political support among other countries to criticize and deter offensive US cyberwarfare.  This sharp divide between the US and Chinese legal positions calls into question the efficacy of longstanding US government efforts to convince China to accept and apply international law to cyberwarfare.  

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Aegis explores legal and policy issues at the intersection of technology and national security.  Published in partnership with the Lawfare Blog, it features long-form essays of the Hoover Institution National Security, Technology and Law Working Group (the Aegis Paper Series), examines major new books in the field, and carries podcasts and videos or the working group’s events in Washington and Stanford.