Truth, Disinformation, Censorship, and Governance of the Online World
This panel discussion was held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. EST
Social media platforms are conduits for user-generated content, offering essentially infinite bandwidth to target specific audiences with content that is much less moderated than traditional media organizations’ editorial boards. Instead, these platforms use complex algorithms, often exposing users to more radical posts than they may have sought out on their own. How can truth, disinformation and censorship be governed in the online world?
The Middlebury College Center for Careers and Internships and Middlebury in DC, in collaboration with the Middlebury Professional Network, bring you a discussion among professionals who have a variety of vantage points on governments’ and private enterprises’ roles in governing internet content.
The panelists include:
- Host: Ryan Kellett ’09, Vice President of Audience at Axios
- Eric Einhorn P’25, P’21, Chief of Staff, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)
- Eli Sugarman ’02, Director of Content, Oversight Board
The content segments below indicate the approximate time marks in the recording during which the specific content is discussed.
The segments include:
- Session introduction (0:00 to 2:43)
- Framing of the challenge with Senate Hearing video: mime or sophisticated understanding of finsta (“fake Instagram”) (2:48 to 7:18)
- Governance primer on regulation of content, e.g., section 230 and congresses intentions historically to today (7:18 to 13:11)
- Governance challenges of today and in the future (13:20 to 17:48)
- Government regulation of content vs self-regulation vs third party oversight using something like Facebook’s Oversight Board (17:49 to 31:38)
- What other countries are doing in regulating online activity/content and possible learnings for the U.S. to apply (31:49 to 40:02)
- Student Q&A (40:09 to 58:43)
Truth and Disinformation Speaker Bios
Ryan Kellett ‘09.5
Vice President of Audience at Axios
Ryan is VP of Audience at Axios, which publishes dozens of daily newsletters in the smart brevity format. In his role, he oversees social media distribution and news coverage on the web. Ryan was previously at The Washington Post for eleven years in various newsroom roles, including covering the 2012 presidential election cycle. Originally from San Francisco, Ryan graduated Middlebury (‘09.5) with a degree in International Politics and Economics. He lives in Washington D.C. with his partner Emily Culp ‘11.
Eric Einhorn P’25, P’21
Chief of Staff, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Eric Einhorn is U.S. Senator Brian Schatz’s chief of staff and is based in Washington, D.C. He began working for Senator Schatz in 2017 as senior counsel for technology and communications policy.
Before working for Senator Schatz, Einhorn was senior vice president of government affairs and strategy for a Fortune 500 communications company. In that role he reported to the CEO, was on the executive leadership team, and was responsible for the company’s regulatory and legislative initiatives and related strategies at the federal and state levels. He previously served as vice president of federal government affairs.
Einhorn worked at the Federal Communications Commission where he served in several roles, including chief of the telecommunications access policy division in the wireline competition bureau. He also practiced law at leading law firms in New York City and Washington, and was a law clerk for Judge Roger Strand in federal district court in Phoenix, Arizona.
Einhorn holds a law degree from Boston College Law School, cum laude, where he also served as executive editor of the Boston College Law Review, and an MBA, with distinction, from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.
Eli Sugarman ‘02
Director of Content, Oversight Board
Eli leads the core content moderation functions of an experimental online safety and speech regulator established to guide Facebook and Instagram on their most challenging content decisions globally. Previously, he was the Director of the Cyber Initiative at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leading a ten-year, $130 million grant-making effort that aims to build a more robust cybersecurity field and improve policy-making. From 2009 to 2014, Eli was senior director at an emerging markets advisory firm based in Washington, D.C., where he provided strategic counsel on international policy, regulatory, and business matters to clients globally. He has served as a foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State, where he focused on international security issues. Eli also serves on the executive board of the CyberPeace Institute (CPI) and Independent Advisory Committee of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). He writes regularly about cybersecurity, government surveillance, data privacy and internet governance in leading outlets. A San Diego native and graduate of Middlebury College, he holds a J.D. from Stanford University Law School.
Transitions to a Green Economy
This panel discussion was held on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 12:30-1:30 p.m. EST
Eleven percent of the world’s population is currently vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and sea-level rise. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) 2018 World Employment and Social Outlook report a shift to a just and greener economy could create 24 million new jobs globally by 2030 if the right policies are put in place. Green growth strategies need to be flexible enough to take advantage of new technologies and unexpected opportunities and be nimble enough to abandon one approach if a better one becomes available.
The Center for Careers and Internships and Middlebury in DC, in collaboration with the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, the Franklin Environmental Center, and the Climate Action Capacity Project, bring you a discussion among professionals who have a variety of vantage points on the transitions to a green economy.
This discussion will be conducted via Zoom webinar, connecting the professional guests with students from both the Middlebury and Monterey campuses, as well as, alumni and parents of the Middlebury community.
The panelists include:
- Host: Jon Isham, Professor of Economics/Environmental Studies, Middlebury College
- Jane Leggett ’78, Specialist in Environmental and Energy Policy, Congressional Research Service
- Suzanne Dael ’02, Climate Change Mitigation and Energy, European Environment Agency
- Lauren Sanchez ’11, Deputy Secretary of Climate Policy & Intergovernmental Relations, California Environmental Protection Agency
Green Economy Speaker Bios
Suzanne Slarsky Dael ´02 joins Live from DC from Copenhagen, Denmark, where she works at the headquarters of the European Environment Agency. As an Expert in Climate Change Mitigation and Energy, Suzanne focuses on collecting and communicating European data and information on climate change and renewable energy. She coordinates an annual report on progress to European climate and energy targets and has recently done some more focused work at the intersection of climate change mitigation and circular economy.
Before joining the European Environment Agency in 2018, Suzanne spent a decade in Denmark’s central government, working with maritime spatial planning, communications and geodata development and distribution. In 2009, she used a year’s sabbatical in her home state of Massachusetts on sustainability issues, including the launch of an offshore energy cooperative on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
Suzanne graduated from Middlebury in 2002 with a BA in geography and a minor in African studies. She was later granted a MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford and a MSc in geography and geoinformatics from Copenhagen University.
Jon Isham has been on the Middlebury faculty since 1999. He co-founded the Middlebury Center for Social Entrepreneurship in January 2012, serving as its director until 2016. He was the director of Environmental Studies from 2011-2014 and was a Fulbright Scholar at Ashesi University in 2016-17. His webpage can be found here.
Jon teaches classes about environmental policy, environmental economics, microeconomics, and social change. His research encompasses a broad range of questions about institutional determinants of well-being and sustainability. He co-edited Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement (Island Press, 2007) and Social Capital and Economic Development: Well-Being in Developing Countries (Edward Elgar Publications, 2002); has published articles in Economic Development and Cultural Change, The Journal of African Economies, The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Rural Sociology, Society and Natural Resources, The Southern Economic Journal, The Vermont Law Review, World Bank Economic Review and other journals; and book chapters in volumes from Ashgate Press, The New England University Press, Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University Press. More information about his research can be found on his c.v. and his website.
Jon has an AB in Anthropology from Harvard College, an MA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland. He and his wife Tracy Himmel Isham and their three daughters live in Cornwall VT.
Since 2006, Jane A. Leggett ’ 78 has been a Specialist on climate change policy in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and coordinate the topic across CRS. She provides expertise to Members of Congress and their staff on climate change science, federal programs, domestic policy on greenhouse gas mitigation, and international cooperation. For 15 years, Leggett led work on climate change mitigation and risk analysis at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and collaborated in many inter-agency initiatives. She was a negotiator for the United States on the Kyoto Protocol, and led U.S. delegations on climate change work at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for several years. Among recognitions, Leggett received EPA’s Fitzhugh Green Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Environmental Protection, and shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former Vice President Al Gore. Leggett was an administrator at the OECD in Paris from 1984 through 1990. She also served for brief periods in the Department of Energy, and in the Office of Management and Budget. Leggett has a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University (’80), and a B.A. from Middlebury College.
Lauren Sanchez ‘11 serves as Deputy Secretary for Climate Policy and Intergovernmental Relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to her appointment, she served for two years at the California Air Resources Board as International Policy Director. Before moving to California, she was at the U.S. Department of State, where she served as a climate negotiator on the Paris Agreement negotiating team under former President Barack Obama. In her earlier positions, she was an advisor for the United Nations, a research project leader at Yale University and a Moran Fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Lauren received her master’s degree from Yale University and bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College. She is a Fulbright Scholar.
Growing Challenges in Cyber Security
Host Robert Siudak, Visiting Fellow, Cyber Collaborative and Adjunct Faculty at MIIS, along with Eli Sugarman ‘02, Program Officer for the Cyber Initiative, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Mia Little ‘07, Cyber Security Attorney - Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft, and Adam Markun ‘17, Security Analyst, FireEye, joined us on February 10, 2021 to discuss the growing challenges in cyber security.
As of 2020, at least a third of all data passes through the cloud, and within five years, there will be over 50 billion smart connected devices in the world. 5G and increased bandwidth will enable machines, robots, and autonomous vehicles to collect and transfer more data than ever, leading to advances in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart machinery. The recent Russian cyber attacks through SolarWinds serves notice that with these technological advances come great concerns regarding data privacy, data security, and how cyberspace should be governed.
The discussion was recorded on 2/10/21. You can view it below.
Cyber Security Guest Speakers
Mia Little ’07 is a Cybersecurity Attorney with the Digital Crimes Unit at Microsoft. She identifies and develops new legal strategies to support technical countermeasures developed for the purpose of neutralizing, disrupting, or diminishing the propagation of ransomware used by cyber-criminals to attack businesses, governments, and users globally across a variety of platforms and devices. Prior to joining Microsoft, Mia’s experiences included being a Fellow at New America with Google, focusing on Privacy & governmental surveillance law; a legal fellow with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and a Digital Network Analyst with the U.S. Department of Defense. She has he J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law, a Master of Laws from Seattle University School of Law, a Master of Science in Intelligence Analytics from The Johns Hopkins University, and her B.A. from Middlebury College in Arabic & Islamic Studies.
Adam Markun ‘17 is a Security Analyst for FireEye where he utilizes digital forensics, malware reverse engineering, threat intelligence, and programming to protect clients from foreign and domestic cyber threats. Previously, Adam worked as a Digital Forensics and Incident Response consultant for Stroz Friedberg, an Aon Company, where he responded to cyber attacks directed towards individuals and companies alike. He graduated from Middlebury College in 2017 with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Mandarin.
Robert Siudak, Visiting Fellow, Cyber Collaborative and Adjunct Faculty at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies joins the Middlebury Institute as a Fulbright Scholar and Adjunct Professor for the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies degree program. He is passionate about the interplay between new technologies, public policy and security. His is excited to be conducting research at MIIS because it gives him a global perspective on the local challenges we all face in the process of digital transformation. Robert serves as a Chair of the Board at the Polish Cybersecurity Cluster #CyberMadeInPoland which represents the Polish IT-sec industry. He also supports Expertise on Demand (EonD) global expert network as a Strategy and Innovation Manager.
Previously he worked at the Kosciuszko Institute as Advocacy and Strategic Projects Director and Editor-in-Chief of the European Cybersecurity Market journal. Robert is also a founding member of Global EPIC (The Global Ecosystem of Ecosystems Partnership in Innovation and Cybersecurity) which promotes international collaboration of regional ecosystems for the development of secure technologies.
Eli Sugarman ‘02 is Director of the Cyber Initiative at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He leads a ten-year, $130 million grant-making effort that aims to build a more robust cybersecurity field and improve policy-making.
Previously, he was a consultant and strategist to private sector and nonprofit leaders. From 2009 to 2014, Eli was senior director at an emerging markets advisory firm based in Washington, D.C., where he provided strategic counsel on international policy, regulatory, and business matters to clients globally. He has served as a foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State, where he focused on international security issues.
Eli also serves on the executive board of the CyberPeace Institute (CPI) and Independent Advisory Committee of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). He writes regularly about cybersecurity, government surveillance, data privacy and internet governance in leading outlets. A San Diego native and graduate of Middlebury College, he holds a J.D. from Stanford University Law School.
Global Security and Great Power Relations
Host Mark Williams, Director of the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, along with Stewart M. Patrick P’24, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, David Wisner ’04, Deputy Director for Press & Strategic Communications for Near Eastern Affairs Bureau, U.S. Department of State, and Stone Conroy ’10, Manager, Geopolitical Analysis & Intelligence, United Airlines, discuss the capacity of great powers—China, the EU, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States— to cooperate in tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Among these are climate change, cyber security, illicit trafficking, pandemics, proliferation, and terrorism.
Check out the curated list of helpful resources our panelists shared with us.
Global Security Guest Speakers
Stone Conroy ‘10 is the Manager for the Geopolitical Analysis & Intelligence team at United Airlines, where he conducts risks assessments of international security issues and provides analytical support to company leaders during crisis situations such as terrorist attacks, political instability, or civil unrest. In addition to his job at United, Stone is currently the Co-Director of the Chicago chapter of the Truman National Security Project.
Prior to this Stone spent several years on the Outreach and Engagement team at the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). In this position, he promoted security cooperation and information sharing between the State Department and private sector organizations operating around the world. Stone has also worked a several non-profits in the peacebuilding space, where he focused on the economics of building peace and preventing conflict.
Stone was a 2013-14 Boren Fellow in Nigeria where he worked on conflict management programs for Mercy Corps, in addition to studying a local language that was critical for U.S. national security interests. Stone holds a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and attended Middlebury College for undergraduate studies.
Stewart M. Patrick P’24 is James H. Binger senior fellow in global governance and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) Program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His areas of expertise include multilateral cooperation on global issues; U.S. policy toward international institutions, including the United Nations; and the challenges posed by fragile and post–conflict states. Patrick is the author of The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World, as well as Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security. He is co-author of the October 2020 CFR Task Force Report Improving Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons from COVID-19. He also writes a weekly column for World Politics Review, as well as the CFR blog, The Internationalist. He is on the international steering group of the Paris Peace Forum.
From 2005 to April 2008, he was research fellow at the Center for Global Development. He directed the center’s research and policy engagement on the intersection between security and development, with a particular focus on the relationship between weak states and transnational threats and on the policy challenges of building effective institutions of governance in fragile settings. He also taught at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
From September 2002 to January 2005, Patrick served on the secretary of state’s policy planning staff, with lead staff responsibility for U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and a range of global and transnational issues, including refugees and migration, international law enforcement, and global health affairs. He joined the staff as an international affairs fellow at CFR.
Prior to government service, Patrick was from 1997 to 2002 a researcher at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, where he ran two multi-scholar research programs on post-conflict reconstruction and on multilateralism and U.S. foreign policy.
Patrick graduated from Stanford University and received two master’s degrees and his doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of five books. He has also authored numerous articles and chapters on the subjects of multilateral cooperation, state-building, and U.S. foreign policy. Patrick lives in Bethesda, Maryland. He has three children.
Mark Williams (Ph.D Harvard) is Professor of Political Science at Middlebury College. His research interests include international politics, U.S.-Latin American Relations, Venezuelan Foreign Policy, Comparative Latin American Political Economy, and Mexican Politics. A past President of the New England Council on Latin American Studies, he is the author of Understanding US-Latin American Relations: Theory and History (2011), and Market Reforms in Mexico: Coalitions, Institutions, and the Politics of Policy Change (2001). His articles have been published in such journals as Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica, World Development, Political Science Quarterly, Latin American Politics and Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos, the Yale Journal of International Affairs, and International Journal of Politics and Ethics.
David Wisner ‘04 is currently the Deputy Director for Press and Strategic Communications and the Spokesperson for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. David previously ran the political and economic section at the U.S. Embassy in Algeria, was the Tunisia Desk Officer at the State Department, and was a Staff Assistant to two Assistant Secretaries of State for Near Eastern Affairs. He was also a Special Assistant to Counselor Kristie Kenney covering the Middle East and Africa. David has also served at our Embassies in Khartoum, Sudan, and Bangui, Central African Republic as well. David speaks Arabic and French. He is a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont and the Taft School in Connecticut.
Election 2020 - Two Policy Futures Diverge
Richard Haass P’16.5, President of the Council on Foreign Relations and Chris Matthiesen ’04, Partner at Federal Hall Policy Advisors, discuss the foreign and domestic policy continuum represented by the two Presidential candidates’ policy prescriptions, as well as, the implications for future federal government agency, think tank, NGO, and international relation career roles.
View the full recorded event here (from October 2020) or check out the shorter segments split into a select number of domestic and foreign policy matters below.
Environment and Climate Change
Diplomacy and Defense
Q&A Session with Students
Election 2020 Guest Speakers
Dr. Richard Haass P ‘16.5, President of the Council on Foreign Relations
Dr. Richard Haass is a veteran diplomat, a prominent voice on American foreign policy, and an established leader of nonprofit institutions. He is in his eighteenth year as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, publisher, and educational institution dedicated to being a resource to help people better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.
In 2013, he served as the chair of the multiparty negotiations in Northern Ireland that provided the foundation for the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. For his efforts to promote peace and conflict resolution, he received the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award.
From January 2001 to June 2003, Dr. Haass was director of policy planning for the Department of State, where he directed the policy planning staff and was a principal advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate to hold the rank of ambassador, Dr. Haass also served as U.S. coordinator for policy toward the future of Afghanistan and U.S. envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process.
Dr. Haass has extensive additional government experience. From 1989 to 1993, he was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. In 1991, Dr. Haass was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for his contributions to the development and articulation of U.S. policy during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Previously, he served in the Departments of State (1981–1985) and Defense (1979–1980), and was a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate.
A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Haass holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and master’s and doctorate of philosophy degrees from Oxford University. He has also received numerous honorary degrees and was a member of the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Hamilton College.
Dr. Haass is the author or editor of fourteen books on American foreign policy and one book on management. His latest book is The World: A Brief Introduction, published by Penguin Press.
Chris Matthiesen ‘04, Partner at Federal Hall Policy Advisors
Chris Matthiesen is a partner at Federal Hall Policy Advisors, LLC, a boutique government relations firm in Washington, DC. He represents corporations, trade associations and municipal government entities in the banking, securities, insurance, federal budget, and transportation areas. During his tenure on Capitol Hill and as a government relations consultant, Mr. Matthiesen has developed many strong relationships with key decision makers in Washington and built a reputation on his ability to work across party lines.
Mr. Matthiesen served in senior roles in multiple Congressional offices in including as Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas of Central Florida’s 24th district, a member of the House Financial Services and Science Committees and as Legislative Director to Congressman Nick Lampson of the 22nd district of Texas. He started his career in the Office of the then House Democratic Leader and current Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, where he saw first-hand the tools needed to usher legislation through the process.
Mr. Matthiesen is a graduate of Middlebury College and lives in Bethesda, MD with his wife and two daughters.