Think Tank (5/2023)
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CENS Distinguished Visitor Programme on Cyberspace
16 Oct 2023

The Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) invited Professor Ciaran Martin to give two talks under the Distinguished Visitor Programme (DVP), on 16 and 20 October 2023. Prof Martin is the current Professor of Practice in the Management of Public Organisations at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and is also a 23-year veteran of the UK Civil Service, including having served as the first CEO of the UK National Cyber Security Centre.

Prof Martin gave two by-invitation only talks titled “From Cyber Security to Tech Security – How Geopolitics and Hardware Have Transformed How We Think About Cyberspace”, and “The Company and The Security of Cyberspace – Power Shifts Between Public and Private Sectors in The Digital Age”.

Prof Martin’s first talk acknowledged profound shifts in the concept of security in the digital age, as well as growing competition between the US-led West and China for control and leadership of digital infrastructure such as cables, chips, and data centres. Noting a global lack of emphasis on physical internet security, Prof Martin urged the need for nations and alliances to develop new ways of securing their technological bases on both computer network and physical fronts, and for new strategies to meet these challenges.

His second talk discussed the significant ownership role of private entities over personal data and physical technological infrastructure. Acknowledging the risks that ordinary companies are increasingly exposed to from nation state cyber interference, Prof Martin explained how these pressures have reshaped the balance between private and public actors in cyberspace, and outlined possible ways to restore this balance in the interest of the public.

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