Nationalize Cloudflare? Berkeley Researcher Nick Merrill on Making it a Public Utility

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In this episode, Nick Merrill, a research fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, makes a cybersecurity case for nationalizing major CDNs such as Cloudflare, issues some pretty stark warnings about the dangers of machine learning, and digs into why stereotypical images of hackers in hoodies doesn’t help anyone. His viewpoints are sobering if not controversial and worth listening to for anyone who cares about the future of the global internet.

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Why you should listen:

* Get a fresh perspective on some of the biggest risks to the global web: unchecked algorithmic bias, the risk of attacks on massive CDNs, and the growing internet fragmentation.

* Consider some of the boldest ideas from one of the sharpest thinkers when it comes to how policymakers can make fundamental changes to protect the internet.

* Hear Nick’s take on why art matters in cybersecurity -- and why stereotypical images of hackers in hoodies harm the public’s perceptions of information security.

* Learn more about Fairness, Accountability and Transparency in Machine Learning and the growing movement to look more critically at the hidden algorithms that control the internet and much of technology today.

* Consider how ransomware takedowns and other large-scale cyberattacks such as Colonial Pipeline erode public trust in technology.

* Get a better understanding of why diversity in the cybersecurity industry matters when it comes to identifying real-world threats.

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Key Quotes:

* “That power over the internet is like a huge strategic asset for the U.S. It's analogous to controlling global trade.”

* “Imagine a Stuxnet level attack on Cloudflare.”

* “I would nationalize Cloudflare. I would make it like a national publicly-run utility company.”

* “This word ‘hacker’ got so diluted. It means different things to different people. And it became this totally useless way for describing what's actually happening in security.”

* “The future of cybersecurity … is the future of machine learning.”

* “The real risk of ransomware is just that it freaks people out.”

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Related Links:

* Synack.com

* https://nickmerrill.substack.com/about

* iSchool (Berkeley) Bio

* https://www.synack.com/lp/enterprise-security-testing-101

* https://cltc.berkeley.edu/

* https://daylight.berkeley.edu/

* https://www.codedbias.com/

* https://www.fatml.org/

11 episodes