About the Initiative
GW Law is a premier institution for the study of cybersecurity law. The Cybersecurity Law Initiative was launched in January 2017 to bring together the law school's nationally recognized strengths with expertise from across the university. The Initiative hosts regular events on cybersecurity law and technology that are open to GW students as well as members of the public. With its prime DC location just four blocks from the White House, and within five blocks of many of the world's leading law firm cybersecurity practices, the Initiative promises to be a center for progress in the evolving field of cybersecurity law.
Faculty & Affiliated Scholars
The Initiative's director is Professor Orin S. Kerr, who is one of the nation's foremost experts in cybersecurity law. Professor Kerr came to GW Law in 2001 after serving as a trial attorney in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. He is the author of a widely-used casebook, Computer Crime Law, as well as dozens of articles on Internet surveillance, computer search and seizure, and the computer hacking laws. Professor Kerr's scholarship has been cited in over 250 court decisions, including many of the leading decisions in cybersecurity law.
Additional faculty affiliated with the Initiative include Professor Daniel J. Solove, John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law, who is one of the world's top experts in information privacy law; Professor Dawn C. Nunziato, a leading authority on the area of free speech and the Internet; Professor Jeffrey Rosen (on leave), an expert on privacy law who also serves as the CEO of the National Constitution Center; and Professorial Lecturer in Law Paul Rosenzweig, a cybersecurity law expert who formerly served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security.
The Initiative also welcomes two Affiliated Scholars from outside the law school. They are Lance Hoffman, Distinguished Research Professor of Computer Science and Co-Director of GW's Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute; and Carl Landwehr, Lead Research Scientist at GW's Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute.
GW Law offers a comprehensive curricular program in the field of cybersecurity law. Key courses include:
The legal issues that judges, legislators, and prosecutors confront in response to computer-related crime. How computer crimes challenge traditional approaches to the prohibition, investigation, and prosecution of criminal activity. Topics include computer hacking, computer viruses, Internet gambling, encryption, online undercover operations, the Fourth Amendment in cyberspace, the law of Internet surveillance, laws governing access to e-mail, and federal–state relations and international cooperation in the enforcement of computer crime laws.
Information privacy law, including the development of constitutional, tort, contract, property, and statutory law to address emerging threats to privacy. Privacy and the media, privacy and law enforcement, workplace privacy, privacy and online transactions, medical and genetic privacy, and privacy and personal records and information.
Issues relating to the organization of the Internet and the federal government’s response to cyberthreats. Legal concepts relating to the private sector and civilian government engagement in cyberspace. Application of traditional laws of armed conflict in the new cyberdomain.
Survey of theoretical and practical aspects of legal issues concerning cyberspace, including First Amendment free speech rights, commerce, computer crime, privacy, political participation, and jurisdiction
Legal issues related to homeland security before September 11, 2001, and the adoption of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Protection of critical infrastructure; information sharing; liability for terrorist attacks; risk insurance; attempts to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction; threats to electronic infrastructure; and combating the financing of terrorism.
Analysis of legal mechanisms in the fields of criminal, civil, military, immigration, and administrative law used by the U.S. government to combat domestic and international terrorism. The effectiveness of government actions and alternatives for achieving public safety goals; the effect of such actions on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries; and the reaction of federal courts and Congress to executive branch actions. Students who have previously taken or are concurrently enrolled in Law 6870 must have the instructor’s permission to enroll in this course
Identification and analysis of current legal questions that face intelligence practitioners. Constitutional, statutory, and executive authorities that govern the intelligence community; intelligence structures of other countries; the natural tension between law enforcement and intelligence activities. U.S. person protections, covert action, FISA, and data mining. The course may include application of intelligence law to hypothetical scenarios and student-generated legislative approaches to intelligence law problems.
U.S. law (and incorporated international law) affecting national security. Topics may include the use of armed force abroad (general war, defensive war and reprisal, peace and stabilization operations); intelligence operations abroad (history, organization and oversight, legal issues in the field); selected issues of counterterrorism; and access to and protection of classified information (classification, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), state secrets privilege, leak control, prior restraints on publication).
In addition to offering a comprehensive classroom curriculum, the law school is a center for leading scholarship on cybersecurity law. The George Washington Law Review has hosted several symposia relating to cybersecurity law in recent years. The most recent example is its November 2015 symposium, Hacking into the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: The CFAA at 30, which took a critical look at the federal computer hacking laws. The symposium keynote was delivered by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The event featured original contributions both by professors from top universities and from practitioners currently practicing cybersecurity law. All of the contributions can be read here at the Law Review's website.
Earn a Full Scholarship to Study Cybersecurity Law at GW Law
GW Law students and applicants are eligible for CyberCorps scholarships provided by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security to study cybersecurity law. These grants are part of GW's Partnership in Securing Cyberspace through Education and Service (PISCES) program. Federal funding provides full scholarships (tuition, books, stipend, and professional development allowance) for students to study cybersecurity law at GW for up to three years. After completing their coursework, students will help protect the nation's information infrastructure by working as security experts in a government agency for at least the amount of time they have been supported by this program. For further information about the CyberCorps scholarship, visit the CyberCorps scholarship homepage or contact the program at email@example.com.
Cybersecurity Studies at George Washington University
The Cybersecurity Law Initiative is one of several programs at George Washington University within the interdisciplinary field of cybersecurity. In addition to being a National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, the University is a host to several centers and degree-granting departments that specifically study cybersecurity. They include:
- The GW Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute (CSPRI), founded in 2002, which is the home for major information assurance and cybersecurity scholarship programs funded by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation.
- The GW Computer Science Department, which recently introduced a specialized Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree.
- The GW Department of Forensic Sciences, which has a Digital Forensics program and offers a Master of Science degree in Digital Forensics.
- The GW Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, established in 2015, is a think tank that carries out policy-relevant research and analysis on homeland security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity issues.
- The GW College of Professional Studies, which currently offers a Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management degree.
For more information about the Cybersecurity Law Initiative, please contact Program Director Orin Kerr.
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