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Undergrad cybersecurity research goes to Microsoft

June 20, 2016

International Policy Institute Fellows and undergraduates presenting cybersecurity research at Microsoft
Jackson School faculty, International Policy Institute Fellows and undergraduates presented cybersecurity research at Microsoft on June 9, 2016, as part of an ongoing collaboration with the private sector to give students a client-driven research experience.

Eight Jackson School undergraduates spent the morning of June 7 in a different kind of classroom: presenting their research on “Extremist Use of Information and Communications Technology – Transcending the Privacy and Security Dichotomy” at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, about 15 miles east of Seattle.

The project was commissioned by the Global Security and Strategy Team inside Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group. This represented the fourth year in a row that Microsoft invited and collaborated with a select group of undergraduates to undertake an Applied Research Project.

This year’s student Cybersecurity Task Force included research fellows Kai Brunson, Cherryl Isberto, Natasha Karmali, Angela Kim, Oliver Marguleas, Hyeong Oh, Olivia Rao, and Jennifer Ryder, all of whom worked with International Policy Institute Senior Research Fellow Stacia Lee (B.A., International Studies, 2015) and faculty lead Jessica Beyer.

The team also worked closely with Microsoft’s Erin English, who is a senior security strategist with the Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy Team.

In their work, the students analyzed extremist use of information and communications technology (ICT). To do this, the group examined and examined cybersecurity challenges and threats to individual ICT users and the public policy difficulties that presents, both domestically and globally, for industry actors, states, and international organizations.

They focused on three areas in their presentation to Microsoft:

  • Analysis of extremist use models and industry response
  • Case studies of government policy in seven different countries
  • Evaluation of regional and international level agreements surrounding extremist non-state actor use of ICT products

The team also made recommendations on each issue, as well as talked about challenges, from both the private and public sector perspectives.

Questions came from various departments of Microsoft including Microsoft’s Chief Online Safety Officer, the head of the Global Security and Strategy Team, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Bing, and Microsoft employees in Europe, among others.

Since 2010, the Jackson School’s International Studies Program has collaborated with local private sector clients with global reach like Microsoft and Starbucks on research projects that help inform strategic and innovative initiatives. Professor Sara Curran initiated the project as a way to give select undergraduates a professional client-driven research experience.

This event and publication were made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.