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The Road from Ford to Obama: Forty Years of US Information Security

Date & Time:
13:00:00 - 14:30:00,
Monday 3 June, 2013


Aggressive intelligence acquisition has been one of the main strategies employed by the United States in its fight against terrorism following the attacks on 9/11. Whistleblowers and court records reveal that the US government uses telecommunications and internet intelligence to identify targets for drones, pursue court cases against captured terrorist suspects and intervene in plots before they unfold. This surveillance strategy was not invented in the days following 9/11. Rather it is the natural outgrowth of a line of technological policy stretching back to the end of the Cold War and implemented by some of the same men involved in its original creation. Using archival records, this research connects the origin of US telecommunications and information policy at the end of the Cold War to the intelligence strategy employed against global terror networks. It also shows how cooperation between telecommunications companies and the intelligence community developed during the Cold War only to be reinforced by the war on terror. It also notes how the government has attempted to stay abreast of current technology in a rapidly changing environment. Finally, it questions the wisdom of employing historical information security strategies for dealing with a superpower to their reapplication to a new medium, a new enemy, and a new historical mome.

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  • Professor John Laprise
  • Name: Professor John Laprise
  • Affiliation: Northwestern University, Qatar
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