34 Items

This April 23, 2018, file photo shows the logo for Verizon above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Verizon is pledging to stop selling information on phone owners' locations to data brokers, stepping back from a business practice that has drawn criticism for endangering privacy, The Associated Press has learned.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Controlling Data Privacy and Security

| Spring 2022

Earlier this year, the Belfer Center’s Cyber Project embarked on an ambitious project, but one we believe is achievable: to get a federal data privacy and security law passed. Such a law will have enormous benefits for consumers, businesses, and national security. In the absence of a federal law,  organizations are still free to collect, hold, process, use, and sell data however they wish.

In collaboration with the R Street Institute’s Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats Team, led by Tatyana Bolton, and Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s Senior Advisor Cory Simpson, the Cyber Project is taking a focused approach to the problem. 

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Analysis & Opinions

Intel community weighs role of open source intelligence amid Ukraine conflict

| Apr. 21, 2022

Intelligence agencies have struggled to define how open source intelligence fits into its broader work, but the wide breadth of publicly available information about the Ukraine conflict, combined with proactive disclosures of classified information, are providing some clarity about OSINT’s role. Lauren Zabierek and Maria Robson Morrow spoke with the Federal News Network on how the public and private sectors are leveraging open source intelligence, including challenges and opportunities.

In this March 29, 2018, file photo the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. Facebook made $40 billion in advertising revenue last year.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Policy Brief

Federal Data Security and Privacy Law: Finding Compromise On Federal Legislation

| Apr. 12, 2022

This explainer is part of a series considering roadblocks to a federal data security and privacy law, drawing upon research and engagement with stakeholders to identify and recommend appropriate courses of action to find compromise on federal legislation. Ongoing research also includes topics like civil rights in privacy, arbitration and covered entities and data. We offer the following initial recommendations:

3D rendering of cyber security and system crash

Adobe Stock

Analysis & Opinions - Harvard Business Review

The Cybersecurity Risks of an Escalating Russia-Ukraine Conflict

With the looming threat of increased conflict in Ukraine, businesses around the world should be preparing now, write Paul R. Kolbe, Maria Robson Morrow, and Lauren Zabierek. Corporate security and intelligence teams have said they’re seeing an increase in cyber probes, and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the European Central Bank have both issued warnings about potential Russian cyberattacks. At this point, companies should be taking the following steps: 1) Review business continuity plans; 2) Closely examine supply chains; 3) Actively engage peer networks, vendors, and law enforcement around cyber intrusions; 4) Instill a security mindset in employees; and 5) Make sure corporate intelligence and IT teams are working closely together on solutions.

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Rational Not Reactive

| October 2021

The increasing tempo of offensive cyber operations by Iran and its adversaries, including the U.S. and Israel, has led many commentators to label them as “tit-for-tat”: a cyclical action-reaction dynamic where each side seeks to respond appropriately to an earlier violation by the other. However, this interpretation has significant theoretical and empirical deficiencies. Why, then, does a tit-for-tat narrative dominate our understanding of Iranian cyber activity, and what are the consequences? This paper explores that question.

Taliban fighters patrol inside the city of Kandahar, southwest Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.

AP Photo/Sidiqullah Khan

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

What Does the Taliban Takeover Mean for Afghanistan and the Region?

With the swift Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, we asked Belfer Center experts for their insights on what this could mean for the region – and what actions concerned countries, including the U.S., might take now. 

A miniature of “The War Room” as depicted in the 1964 classic film Dr. Strangelove

Courtesy Eric Chan  and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CC-BY 2.0


Toward a Collaborative Cyber Defense and Enhanced Threat Intelligence Structure

| August 2021

National security structures envisioned in the 20th century are inadequate for the cyber threats that America faces in the 21st century. These structures, created to address strategic, external threats on one end, and homeland security emergencies on the other, cannot protect us from ambient cyber conflict, because they were designed for different times and threats. Our nation—comprising the federal government, private sector companies, critical infrastructure operators, state and local governments, nonprofits and universities, and even private citizens—are constantly under attack by a myriad of cyber actors with ever-increasing capabilities. 


US-Russian Contention in Cyberspace

| June 2021

The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”

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News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

An Inflection Point for U.S.-Led Forces in Afghanistan

American troops and their allies have been conducting counter-terror operations and working to uphold the security of Afghanistan from Taliban extremists since shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. A deal negotiated between the Taliban and the Trump administration in February 2020 called on Western nations to withdraw all their forces by May 1 of this year. This week, President Biden announced that U.S. troops will complete their exit from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021. We reached out to several Belfer Center experts for their thoughts.