Cybersecurity: Changing the Model

Cybersecurity: Changing the Model. Atlantic Council. Franklin D. Kramer and Robert J. Butler. April 24, 2019

The current model of cybersecurity is outdated. Adversaries continue to grow more sophisticated and outpace advancements in defense technologies, processes, and education. As nation states enter into a new period of great power competition, the deficiencies in current cybersecurity practice, evidenced by the growing number of successful cyber-attacks from Russia, China, North Korea, and others, pose a greater threat.

The need to update the cybersecurity model is clear. An enhanced public-private model – based on coordinated, advanced protection and resilience – is necessary to protect key critical infrastructure sectors. In addition, enhanced action from the federal government, coupled with increased formal cooperation with international allies, are necessary to ensure comprehensive cybersecurity resilience. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 28 pages].

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Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Content

Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Content.  Congressional Research Service.  Valerie C. Brannon. March 27, 2019

As the Supreme Court has recognized, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become important venues for users to exercise free speech rights protected under the First Amendment. Commentators and legislators, however, have questioned whether these social media platforms are living up to their reputation as digital public forums. Some have expressed concern that these sites are not doing enough to counter violent or false speech. At the same time, many argue that the platforms are unfairly banning and restricting access to potentially valuable speech.

[PDF format, 46 pages].

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape. Congressional Research Service. Patricia Moloney Figliola. April 18, 2019.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent federal agency established by the Communications Act of 1934 (1934 Act, or “Communications Act”). The agency is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The mission of the FCC is to make available for all people of the United States, “without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.”

The FCC operates under a public interest mandate first laid out in the 1927 Radio Act (P.L. 632, 69th Congress), but how this mandate is applied depends on how “the public interest” is interpreted. Some regulators seek to protect and benefit the public at large through regulation, while others seek to achieve the same goals through the promotion of market efficiency. Additionally, Congress granted the FCC wide latitude and flexibility to revise its interpretation of the public interest standard to reflect changing circumstances and the agency has not defined it in more concrete terms. These circumstances, paired with changes in FCC leadership, have led to significant changes over time in how the FCC regulates the broadcast and telecommunications industries. 

[PDF format, 19 pages].

The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge

The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Matthew P. Goodman et al. April 23, 2019

Over the next 15 years, more hard infrastructure is projected to be built around the world than currently exists. This global build-out is already underway, and the changes it brings will only accelerate. Infrastructure projects, especially in the transport, energy, information and communications technology (ICT), and water sectors, have long been recognized as the backbone of modern economies. Going forward, emerging digital infrastructure, including fifth-generation (5G) networks, remote sensing, and other advanced technologies, will be especially critical. As our infrastructure is transformed, so will be the economies it fuels, the regions it connects, and the global commons it underpins. These trends are too powerful and potentially beneficial for the United States to stop, and too consequential to ignore. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 61 pages].

Data Protection Law: An Overview

Data Protection Law: An Overview.  Congressional Research Service. Stephen P. Mulligan, Wilson C. Freeman, Chris D. Linebaugh. March 25, 2019

Recent high-profile data breaches and other concerns about how third parties protect the privacy of individuals in the digital age have raised national concerns over legal protections of Americans’ electronic data. Intentional intrusions into government and private computer networks and inadequate corporate privacy and cybersecurity practices have exposed the personal information of millions of Americans to unwanted recipients. At the same time, internet connectivity has increased and varied in form in recent years. Americans now transmit their personal data on the internet at an exponentially higher rate than in the past, and their data are collected, cultivated, and maintained by a growing number of both “consumer facing” and “behind the scenes” actors such as data brokers. As a consequence, the privacy, cybersecurity and protection of personal data have emerged as a major issue for congressional consideration. 

[PDF format, 79 pages].

Trends in the Information Technology Sector

Trends in the Information Technology Sector. Brookings Institution. Makada Henry-Nickie, Kwadwo Frimpong, and Hao Sun. March 29, 2019

The U.S. leads the global landscape in technology innovation. The country’s competitive edge, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Competitive Index, is due to its business dynamism, strong institutional pillars, financing mechanisms, and vibrant innovation ecosystem. Innovation is a trademark feature of American competitiveness and has powered its global dominance since the post-World-War industrial revolution. Countries that lead the world in generating advanced technologies and leveraging the full productive capacity of their digital economies can gain a strategic competitive advantage. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Disinformation on Steroids: The Threat of Deep Fakes

Disinformation on Steroids:  The Threat of Deep Fakes. Council on Foreign Relations. Robert Chesney and Danielle K. Citron. October 16, 2018

  Disinformation and distrust online are set to take a turn for the worse. Rapid advances in deep-learning algorithms to synthesize video and audio content have made possible the production of “deep fakes”—highly realistic and difficult-to-detect depictions of real people doing or saying things they never said or did. As this technology spreads, the ability to produce bogus yet credible video and audio content will come within the reach of an ever-larger array of governments, nonstate actors, and individuals. As a result, the ability to advance lies using hyperrealistic, fake evidence is poised for a great leap forward. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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