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IU center, NSA conclude discussions on cybersecurity, law and policy issues

Feb. 28, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Representatives of Indiana University’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research finished discussions late Thursday with the National Security Agency at its Fort Meade, Md., headquarters on achieving a secure, trusted global cyber environment.

The NSA began meeting with various academic groups last year after former contractor Edward Snowden began leaking a trove of classified information about the intelligence agency’s spying capabilities.

CACR, an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in both Information Assurance and Education, asked to meet with senior leaders of the NSA to lend its expertise in areas of cybersecurity law and policy as well as personal privacy and civil liberties.

"We sent representatives to Fort Meade to provide a point of view and expertise other groups haven’t had," said Fred H. Cate, CACR director and C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law. "One of the things that makes CACR so unique is its work at the intersection of technical cybersecurity, law, privacy and policy, and we were pleased to share our thoughts with the NSA."

Participating on behalf of CACR were:

  • David G. Delaney, CACR senior fellow and visiting assistant professor of law.
  • David P. Fidler, the James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law at the IU Maurer School of Law and CACR senior fellow.
  • Jane E. Kirtley, the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
  • Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, professor and dean emerita of the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.
  • Amanda Craig, a third-year student at the Maurer School of Law and 2013 Eric T. Werner Global Cybersecurity Policy Advancement exchange student and Microsoft intern.

"This was a tremendous opportunity to identify applications for existing and prospective academic research related to cybersecurity," Delaney said. "My hope is that we will find future opportunities to both inform and promote academic and public dialogue on national and global policy issues."

NSA participants included General Counsel Rajesh De, Director of Compliance John Delong and Director for Civil Liberties and Privacy Rebecca Richards. More than a dozen other senior officials joined the discussion to address strategic cyber planning, media engagement, signals intelligence, information assurance, declassification and relationships with U.S. industry.

The NSA said it is engaging in such meetings to demonstrate transparency, encourage open dialogue, increase the understanding of the NSA’s missions, and equip visitors with information that will help clarify misinformation and misperceptions about the organization and its work.

"We appreciate NSA’s receptiveness to holding this discussion and look forward to future exchanges," Delaney said. "The NSA clearly feels that Snowden’s leaks paint an incomplete picture of the agency’s programs, interests and values. While this single conversation does not enable our group to assess that view, we were able to give senior NSA officials several recommendations to immediately improve transparency, coordination of cyber policy interests and whistleblowing."