SXSW Interactive 2013

Black Markets, White Hats & Grey Laws

The future of online trust, innovation & self-regulation lies in the gap between users’ expectations formed by laws and norms, and their capabilities formed by technology. As this gap widens, so too does ambiguity between asserted rights and cyber threats... and we are left wondering how to separate the "good guys" from a "bad guys." How do we close this gap and thereby lower risk and instill trust in online activities? I discuss how ethics can guide our decisions and solve conflict of rights in the midst of information uncertainty. Specifically, commercial and public researchers are presented with novel ethical challenges that bear strong influence for online trust dynamics: to defend against Internet threats, they infiltrate malicious botnets; to understand Internet fraud they must deceive end users; to measure how communications are being used legitimately and not they need some access to sensitive network traffic. We discuss how ethics has re-emerged as a crucial ordering force.

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  1. Why should cybersecurity operators and researchers be concerned about being labeled "criminals" or "enemies of the state," and how might they avoid this result?
  2. Ethics isn't a profit center, why should industry care about it in the context of cybersecurity?
  3. How would a policymaker evaluate critical organizational decisions to engage in proactive or defensive cybersecurity based on ethics?
  4. What's wrong with a Robin Hood model of cybersecurity?
  5. Why is ethics an ordering force in the online realm?



Erin Kenneally, CEO, Elchemy; UC San Diego

Meta Information:

  • Tags: ethics, cybersecurity, research
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Government and Civic Engagement
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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