Cyber-Enabled Information Warfare and the End of the Enlightenment



Herbert Lin, CISAC, Stanford University
Jaclyn A. Kerr, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; CISAC Affiliate

Date and Time

February 1, 2018 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


William J. Perry Conference Room, Encina Hall, 2nd Floor, 616 Serra St, Stanford, CA 94305

Abstract: The West has no peer competitors in conventional military power.  But its adversaries are increasingly turning to asymmetric methods for engaging in conflict.  Cyber-enabled information warfare (CEIW) leverages the features of modern information and communications technology to age-old techniques of propaganda, deception, and chaos production to confuse, mislead, and to influence the choices and decisions that the adversary makes—and a recent example of CEIW can be seen in the Russian hacks on the U.S. presidential election in 2016.  CEIW is a hostile activity, or at least an activity that is conducted between two parties whose interests are not well-aligned, but it does not constitute warfare in the sense that international law or domestic institutions construe it.  Nor is it cyber war or cyber conflict as we have come to understand those ideas.  Some approaches to counter CEIW show some promise of having some modest but valuable defensive effect.  If better solutions for countering CEIW waged against free and democratic societies are not forthcoming, societal discourse will no longer be grounded in reason and objective reality—an outcome that can fairly be called the end of the Enlightenment.

Speaker bios: Dr. Herb Lin is senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and Hank J. Holland Fellow in Cyber Policy and Security at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University.  His research interests relate broadly to policy-related dimensions of cybersecurity and cyberspace, and he is particularly interested in and knowledgeable about the use of offensive operations in cyberspace, especially as instruments of national policy.  In addition to his positions at Stanford University, he is Chief Scientist, Emeritus for the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies, where he served from 1990 through 2014 as study director of major projects on public policy and information technology, and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Senior Fellow in Cybersecurity (not in residence) at the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies in the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University; and a member of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. He recently served on President Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.  Prior to his NRC service, he was a professional staff member and staff scientist for the House Armed Services Committee (1986-1990), where his portfolio included defense policy and arms control issues. He received his doctorate in physics from MIT.

To read more about Herb Lin's interests, please read "An Evolving Research Agenda in Cyber Policy and Security."

Jackie Kerr is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Global Security Research (CGSR) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  Her research examines cybersecurity and information security strategy, Internet governance, and the Internet policies of non-democratic regimes.  She was a 2015-2016 Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) Pre-Doctoral Fellow with the Cyber Security Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Visiting Scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and a Cybersecurity Predoctoral Fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation in 2014-2015.  Jackie holds a PhD and MA in Government from Georgetown University, and an MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and BAS in Mathematics and Slavic Languages and Literatures from Stanford University.  She has held research fellowships in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Qatar, and has previous professional experience as a software engineer.