“Hacking the Election” Conference to Be Held September 20

The Center for Global Legal Challenges and the Information Society Project will co-host a conference on “Hacking the Election” on September 20, 2016 at Yale Law School.

This conference was organized in a response to the DNC hack, which highlighted a growing threat to the integrity of the American electoral process: the fact that both foreign and domestic actors may use new technologies in the attempt to influence the election. These threats include intentional leaks of private information, sophisticated algorithms manipulating public opinion, and direct hacking of voting machines. They raise a host of legal and political questions regarding the relationship between advanced technologies and the integrity of political processes.

The conference will consist of two panels exploring two related but separate issues. The first panel, “The DNC Hack,” will focus on the leak that exposed thousands of emails belonging to officials of the Democratic National Committee and its implications on national security law, international law, and foreign affairs. Professor Scott Shapiro ’90 will moderate; Jack Goldsmith ’89 (Harvard), Oona Hathaway ’97, and Susan Hennessey (Brookings) will be panelists.

The second panel, “Hacking the Election,” will discuss how the presidential election could be affected by the use of different technology-aided practices, including manipulative social media algorithms, exploiting voting machines’ vulnerabilities, cyber-attacks, and disinformation cyber campaigns. This panel will be moderated by Professor Jack Balkin and will include Professors Paul Brewer (University of Delaware), Michael Fischer (Yale Computer Science Department), and Heather Gerken.

Rebecca Crootof, Executive Director of the Information Society Project, noted, “Andrés Sepúlveda—who claims to have rigged Latin American elections for almost a decade—has stated that he is 100 percent sure that the upcoming American presidential election will be tampered with. This conference is an opportunity both to raise awareness of this risk and begin thinking about how to address it.”

“The DNC hack raised a multitude of important and alarming questions with regard to the integrity of the election process. This conference will explore how technology may affect all of us, particularly in relation to the most fundamental democratic process—elections,” said Ido Kilovaty, Cyber Fellow at the Center for Global Legal Challenges. “We invited experts from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds—national security law, international law, election law, computer science, communications, and foreign affairs. This diversity reflects the fact that there are many perspectives to these threats and that facilitating cross-disciplinary discourse is necessary to tackle them.”

The conference will be held in Rooms 127 and 128 at Yale Law School; it will also be livestreamed on the ISP website and discussed on the ISP Twitter feed @yaleisp.

9:00 am–10:00 am, Breakfast, Room 127
10:00 am–11:30 am, “The DNC Hack” Panel, Room 127. Watch the livestream.
11:30 am–12:00 pm, Break
12:00 pm–1:30 pm, Lunch & “Hacking the Election” Panel, Room 128. Watch the livestream.

The conference was made possible with the generous assistance of Yale Law School’s Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund.