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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.

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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.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

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.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

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.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

A Migration System In The Making: Demographic Dynamics And Migration Policies In North America And The Northern Triangle Of Central America

via Analysis
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

In recent years, the three countries in North America (Canada, the United States and Mexico) and the three in the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) have experienced large human mobility within the region. Traditionally dominated by South-North migration, with the US and Canada as the main destinations, this migration system is now more complex as it includes new flows, places of origin, and destinations. This study analyzes socioeconomic and demographic dynamics in the sending and receiving countries alongside the migration policies in the three main destinations to help understand (a) to what extent flows between and within North America and the NTCA may continue in the short term and (b) what changes in migrants profiles can be expected in the future.

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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.  

Fiscal policies and the prices of labor: a comparison of the U.K. and U.S.

by Casey B. Mulliganvia Springer Open
Friday, August 11, 2017

This paper measures the 2007–13 evolution of employment tax rates in the U.K. and the U.S. The U.S. changes are greater, in the direction of taxing a greater fraction of the value created by employment, and primarily achieved with new implicit tax rates. Even though both countries implemented a temporary “fiscal stimulus,” their tax rate dynamics were different: the U.S. stimulus increased rates, whereas the U.K. stimulus reduced them. The U.K. later increased the tax on employment during its “austerity” period. Tax rate measurements are a first ingredient for cross-country comparisons of labor markets during and after the financial crisis.

Long-Term Issues For Central Banks

by Jaime Caruana, Kevin Warshvia Bank for International Settlements
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The global political, economic and financial landscape is constantly evolving. Some of the changes may prove short-lived. But others may be slow-moving and persistent, and only detectable over time as evidence accumulates. Although central banks’ day-to-day operations and policymaking tend to focus on near- or medium-term developments, longer-term trends and structural changes will at some point come into the picture – not least because of their impact on the economic relationships that are central to policy formulation and analysis.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Appropriate Norms Of State Behavior In Cyberspace: Governance In China And Opportunities For US Businesses

by Mei Gechlikvia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, July 27, 2017

Finding cybernorms that are acceptable to the United States and China, which have different ideologies and practices as well as enormous interests at stake, is challenging. This article identifies these developments in China - the new Guiding Cases System as well as foreign and domestic developments regarding facilitating everyone’s access to cyberspace - and discusses how they, together with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s growing significance in the international arena, call for more strategic thinking among US policymakers so that the United States can seize the new opportunities to engage meaningfully with China in establishing international norms for cyberspace.

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Encryption Substitutes

by Andrew Keane Woodsvia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This paper argues that the “going dark” debate ought to be considered in context of the larger debate over government access to data. Encryption is not the only game in town: just as law enforcement can pursue a number of different alternatives to mandating encryption backdoors, so too can privacy advocates take steps beyond encrypting their data to ensure their privacy.  Acknowledging these substitutes—both for law enforcement and for privacy seekers—generates a number of insights. For example, comprehensive reform may make more sense than serial reforms, since it would allow for issue linkage and deal-making.

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