Preview: Cyber Arms Control: How to Make Our World Safer
Sean Kanuck is a professional attorney by training, a strategic consultant, and, in an academic setting, has recently re-affiliated with Stanford University. For the last 16 years, Kanuck worked for the United States government in the intelligence community. He worked in the CIA for 11 years and then in the Office of Director of National Intelligence for 5 years. Kanuck left working for the government in May of 2016 and is now working many small jobs that he couldn’t have worked with a full-time position, such as: legal and consulting work for financial institutions in the United States and abroad, expert witnessing for a law firm, other consulting work for a couple of philanthropic organizations, he’s served in the visiting fellows at the University in Singapore and spent his time this past January as a distinguished fellow with a think tank in India.
Kanuck will hold his session Cyber Arms Control: How To Make Our World Safer at SXSW. His interest in this topic arose because he spent the last five years as the United States National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues.
“While there was diplomatic talk about wanting norms and security in cyber space, there really seemed to be more and more conflict happening each year. As you read the newspapers, cyberspace varies of competition and conflict despite the fact that there are allegedly efforts that international diplomatic efforts on their way. What sparked my interest in that topic was obviously my previous job and my concern about how much conflict there actually was in cyber space, between nations states, between extremists and terrorist’s groups, and criminal activity is a pretty dangerous neighborhood in the virtual space.”
Kanuck hopes that those who attend the panel will walk away with a deeper and new understanding of the issues that they are reading and hearing about in the news. The first half of the session will be more educational while the second half will be more discussion based. Kanuck will explain why this issue is so complex and why many countries are choosing this path of conflict. He will also talk more about his proposals, have a group discussion concerning how to overcome the obstacles that are currently taking place, and hopefully move towards peace and security and have less of this, “undesirable activity.”
Along with leaving the panel with a deeper and new understanding, Kanuck also wants the audience to walk away with the knowledge that arms control in cyber space is much more difficult than arms control in any other field, such as in a nuclear context, chemical context, or a biological context.
“The very nature of cyber space is also the very nature of the offenses, so these weapons that are used make arms control much more difficult in cyber space than in any other area… So, the next time people hear the news they’ll know if what’s said is really accurate or if they’re over simplifying things… it’s something that requires actual mental attention and deeper thinking by people who really have an understanding of the issues at hand.”
This will be Kanucks first time at SXSW and he is very passionate about bringing this knowledge to the conference. The most exciting thing for Kanuck will be to teach others about cyber control issues and to also learn what others in the tech world are thinking.
“I speak all over the world and highly compensated for giving public speeches in countries all over the world and the reason I want to do SXSW is because it’s an important innovative community with a lot of young people who need to be patched into this international security conversation and there’s people like me in the international security conversation who need to be patched into the young innovative interdisciplinary crowd. The fact that SXSW hasn’t invited someone like me to talk before and the fact that a lot of people in government haven’t tried to go talk at SXSW on this issue and that there’s two important sides of the coin that aren’t interfacing on this issue, that’s the reason I decided that I wanted to speak at SXSW.”
Kanuck believes speaking at SXSW is a great opportunity for people who have never seen or met a Senior Intelligence Officer before because this gives them the chance to ask questions and it’s also a great opportunity for him to hear what young and innovative entrepreneurs are thinking in the tech world. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about the very important issues of arms control in cyber space, a dialogue that Kanuck says, “hasn’t been happening enough.”
When and Where:
Monday, March 13
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Hilton Austin Downtown – Salon G / 500 E. 4th St.
Find out more: Cyber Arms Control: How to Make Our World Safer!