May 13, 2015

The School of International and Public Affairs will convene leading experts in public policy and technology from the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors when it hosts the inaugural Conference on Internet Governance and Cyber-Security on May 14 and 15.

Hosted in collaboration with the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG), the wide-ranging agenda touches on a series of pressing policy issues that affect Internet governance and cyber-security. Among these are privacy, security, innovation, international trade and cross-border data flows, data protectionism, human rights, freedom of expression, and much more.

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“New technologies present challenges to Internet governance and cyber-security. In response, governments must develop novel and adaptive policy responses that reflect input from private industry, nonprofits, the academy, and others,” said Dean Merit E. Janow. “SIPA’s global, multidisciplinary perspective and status as the hub of policy studies at Columbia makes the School the ideal setting for an examination of these issues.”

The conference will bring together more than 40 thought leaders from a wide range of backgrounds—influential U.S. and international policy makers, entrepreneurs, legal experts, technologists, corporate executives from around the world, and faculty from SIPA and other Columbia University schools. They will take part in a program that includes nine panels, a series of keynote addresses, and discussions of interest.

Noteworthy guests include:

  • Steven Bellovin, Professor, Department of Computer Science, School of Engineering, Columbia University;
  • Vinton Cerf, Vice President & Chief Internet Evangelist, Google;
  • Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, United States & GCIG Commissioner;
  • Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, SIPA, Columbia University;
  • Kevin Mandia, Chief Operating Office & Senior Vice President, FireEye;
  • Eli Noam, Director, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, Columbia Business School;
  • Marietje Schaake, Dutch member of the European Parliament & GCIG Commissioner;
  • Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft;
  • Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, U.S. Department of Commerce; and
  • Tim Wu, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

“This is a critical moment for Internet governance within many nations and globally,” said Benjamin Dean, a fellow in cyber-security and Internet governance at SIPA. “Right now, we face challenges in balancing individual privacy and collective security, managing local data control with an internationally accessibly internet; respecting human rights on a global internet when their application is so uneven amongst countries, and many more. We’re pleased to welcome such diverse and distinguished thinkers to Columbia to look at these challenges and identify where opportunities might lie.”

To provide the basis for the panel discussions, participating speakers, organizations and the Research Advisory Network (RAN) of the Global Commission on Internet Governance have contributed a number of background papers. (Many of these have already been released and are available for viewing now.)

“Cyber-security is a long-standing issue but has recently gained widespread awareness,” Dean added. At a high level, solutions have to be developed and deployed with input from governments and corporations around the globe. The challenge lies at the ground level though and involves combining the technical, economic, social and behavioral insights. It’s essential then that we find avenues for collaboration between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. This conference represents a major step in the right direction.”

The conference is a program of Tech & Policy @ SIPA, a major initiative that joins public policy, engineering, data science and entrepreneurship, and more through a variety of activities.

The conference will be held at the Italian Academy, located on the Columbia University campus in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood. SIPA and the Global Commission on Internet Governance thank Carnegie Corporation of New York and Microsoft for their generous support that makes the conference possible. Thanks also go to the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), for their logistical support; and Columbia’s Institute for Tele-Information (CITI), for their academic support.

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