Conference at Brown University May 3

Experts on cybersecurity and its role in world politics will come together for a "Cybersecurity and International Relations" conference on Thursday, May 3, 2012. The conference is sponsored by the Watson Institute for International Studies and the Department of Computer Science and organized by John Savage, the An Wang Professor of Computer Science.

The day-long conference begins at 8:45 a.m. in Metcalf Auditorium, 190 Thayer St. It will examine some of the challenges facing the cybersecurity community, including international initiatives in cyberspace, and will highlight opportunities for policymakers and technologists to come together for creative and constructive ways of coping with these issues.

The conference will open with remarks by Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons, U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, Interim Director of the Watson Institute Carolyn Dean, and Savage.

"Research shows that almost half of the world's computers have been compromised at one time, and the problem of making our computers, networks and applications safe from attack is unsolved," Savage said. "It is essential for the U.S. government, together with the private sector, international partners, and independent agents, such as academics, to arrive at recommendations on how best to engage the world community on this important topic while serving our national interests."

In September 2011, Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, and the U.S. Naval War College, announced a plan for future collaborations on cybersecurity issues, particularly those at the intersection of technology, policy, law, and national strategy. The plan outlined specific actions that each institution would undertake based on their complementary strengths, including faculty collaborations and the expansion of existing programs with the hope that Rhode Island would become a model for the nation in cybersecurity policy and technology formulation. Brown's May 3 conference is part of the plan's educational mission.

Conference participants include Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer for CrowdStrike; Allan Friedman, fellow in governance studies at Brookings Institution; Jack Goldsmith, the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University; Anna Lysyanskya, associate professor of computer science at Brown; Karl Rauscher, distinguished fellow and chief technology officer for EastWest Institute; Phyllis Schneck, vice president and chief technology officer for public sector at McAfee; and Richard "Pete" Suittmeier, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Oregon.

There will be five discussions throughout the day, touching on a variety of topics including the threat of technologically advanced military forces and organized cybercriminal networks; creating economic incentives for cybersecurity; and the ways in which current Chinese policies pertaining to innovation and intellectual property affect the international cybersecurity environment.