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  • The Death of Cyber Doom? Not So Fast

    For decades, we have heard a lot of talk from American officials, industry experts, and others about the supposed threat of a “cyber 9/11,” “cyber Pearl Harbor,” “cyber Katrina,” or even “cyber Sandy.” In short, we have been warned repeatedly that “cyber doom” is coming. Indeed, as recently as this fall, cyber doom was in […] More

  • The Sony Hack, It’s Still Not War Or Terrorism

    For more than a decade we have heard constant warnings about the coming of “cyber war” and “cyber terrorism.” The prophets of cyber doom have promised that cyber attacks are just around the corner that will be on par with natural disasters or the use of weapons of mass destruction. With every new report of […] More

  • The Drone Terrorism Case That Wasn’t

    Fears related to drone safety, in particular concerns about so-called “near misses” with manned aircraft, have gotten a lot of attention in recent weeks. More detailed analysis, however, has shown those fears to have been greatly exaggerated. Nonetheless, they have resulted in one senator’s call for an expansion of the FAA’s drone ban to include […] More

  • Implications of U.S. Indictment of Chinese Officers for Cyber Espionage

    Today, the United States Department of Justice indicted five Chinese military officers related to alleged cyber espionage against U.S. companies. At the same time, John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, sent a letter to President Obama arguing that NSA efforts to undermine global Internet security undermine the future of the Internet and […] More

  • Domestic “Drones” Are the Latest Object of Threat Inflation

    Recently, several news outlets reported on a supposed plot by a Moroccan national to use remote controlled model airplanes as flying bombs. The story seems to lend credibility to speculation that model airplanes could be the next terrorist threat. In reality, however, these fears are part of a larger pattern of threat inflation about domestic […] More

  • Drone Strikes and the Lessons of Nonlinear Science

    The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorist leaders has become a centerpiece of the United States’ global counter-terrorism strategy. Each new report of a strike in Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia provides new fodder to critics, who point to civilian casualties and the resulting anger at […] More

  • Overheated Rhetoric Undermines The Case For Syria Cyber Attacks

    In the lead-up to possible airstrikes against Syria, a contradiction has emerged in the U.S. public policy debate about the prospective uses and impacts of cyber weapons. The use of such weapons against the United States is portrayed as potentially catastrophic and as an act of war. Used against a potential adversary, the same weapons […] More

  • How Not To Be Paralyzed By NSA Revelations

    This semester at the University of Utah I am teaching Communication 5620, International Communication. In our Thursday sessions, we do a round-up of weekly news items from the previous week, chosen by the students, that relate to international communication. Not surprisingly, most of the stories chosen for this week related to revelations of NSA surveillance, […] More

  • Is There A Silver Lining To The President’s Cyber War Policy?

    What started last week as a series of reports on domestic spying by the NSA took a turn towards cyber security on Friday when Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian published the top secret Presidential Policy Directive 20 (PPD–20), which deals with U.S. policy and planning for cyber conflict. Like the other documents […] More

  • Is the United States Militarizing Cyberspace?

    Cyberspace is our interconnected information technology. Though cybersecurity has been a concern for decades, we have seen an uptick of concern during the last four years. The Obama administration has made the issue a priority. Early in his term, the President gave a speech on the subject and the next month the Secretary of Defense […] More

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