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Adam Segal | Director of Cyberspace and Digital Policy at Council on Foreign Relations
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Adam Segal is a cybersecurity expert who is at the forefront of this burgeoning field. In his talks and in his new book, The Hacked World Order, he provides meaningful answers to urgent questions about hacking, cyberwar, and surveillance. What’s happening with our data? How can we protect ourselves? And what are the real, imminent cyber threats that exist in our post-Snowden world? 

Adam Segal has testified before Congress and briefed the Joint Chief of Staffs, State Department, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Department of Commerce on Chinese cyber espionage. The Director of Cyberspace and Digital Policy Program at Council on Foreign Relations, his talks discuss the intricacies behind U.S./China cyber relations—can the two countries break out of a dangerous cycle of competition and find areas of cooperation?—and what we as individuals and companies need to know and do about privacy, surveillance, and cybersecurity. 


He was project director for CFR’s Independent Task Force report Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet, and is the author of the books Digital Dragon: High Technology Enterprises in China and Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge. His new book, The Hacked World Order: How Nations Fight, Trade, Maneuver, and Manipulate in the Digital Age, exposes how the Internet has ushered in a new era of geopolitical maneuvering, and reveals its tremendous and terrifying implications for our economic livelihood, security, and personal identity. His other writing has appeared in The Economist, The Financial Times, Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Affairs. He writes CFR’s Asia Program blog, Asia Unbound, which is carried by Forbes.


Segal is on the board of the Cyber Conflict Studies Association, has been a visiting scholar at MIT’s Center for International Studies, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Tsinghua University in Beijing, and has taught at Vassar College and Columbia University.   

Speech Topics

The US-China Tech War What Does it Mean, and Who Will Benefit?
When it comes to science and tech, says Adam Segal, the relationship between the US and China is being radically remade. There’s no argument that a tightly linked technology system benefited the both nations over the last two decades, but there is now widespread concern on both sides of the Pacific that the security risks far outweigh the gains. In this brilliant and forward-looking talk, Segal explains why this is all happening—from Chinese hackers targeting US tech companies, to the Trump administration’s threats of punitive measures if China does not cease the theft of intellectual property. With all this going on, Segal sheds light on how the policies intended to increase Chinese influence are bringing new, increasingly timely questions to the forefront, and how the answers will affect tech innovation, trade, politics, and international relations. Don’t pass up the opportunity for Segal’s expert predictions to help you stay on top of this turbulent topic. 
Cybersecurity The Threat to You, Your Company, and Our Nation

We are, as individuals, companies, and countries, becoming ever more dependent on the web. We are generating so much data—some consciously by searching and posting to Facebook, some unconsciously just by carrying our cell phones around with us—and hackers, corporations, and governments all want to access it. We are also connecting more things to the internet (power grids, industrial control systems, home, cars) that are poorly protected. In this illuminating talk, Adam Segal breaks down the hype around “cyber Pearl Harbour” and “cyber 9/11,” describes what the real threat of cyber attack is, and lays out what is being done to protect us. He describes the rush for solutions at the national and international level, the emerging arms race in cyberspace, and the growing divide between countries who are pushing for an open, global internet, and more authoritarian states that want the UN to have greater sway over the internet. And, he gives hands-on advice on what we should be doing right now to defend our information—especially if you are a company focused on innovation.

The United States and China in Cyberspace Competition or Cooperation?
The New York Times has described an “escalating digital cold war” between Beijing and Washington. Chinese hackers attack the U.S. government, American technology companies, The New York Times, Bloomberg, and other members of the press, as well as human rights groups. The NSA has hacked Chinese universities, companies, and the defense ministry. Yet there is a growing concern in both countries about whether it is possible to protect the critical infrastructure on which we all depend and a desire to develop stronger economic ties between the world's two largest economies. In this talk, Adam Segal discusses the intricacies behind these issues and answers the essential question everyone is asking: are the US and China doomed to ever more dangerous competition in cyberspace, or can they find common ground for cooperation?