Data is Dangerous: Comparing the Risks that the United States, Canada and Germany See in Data Troves
CIGI Papers No. 241 — April 2020
Posted: 1 Jul 2020
Date Written: April 15, 2020
Data and national security have a complex relationship. Data is essential to national defense — to understanding and countering adversaries. Data underpins many modern military tools from drones to artificial intelligence. Moreover, to protect their citizens, governments collect lots of data about their constituents. Those same datasets are vulnerable to theft, hacking, and misuse. In 2013, the Department of Defense’s research arm (DARPA) funded a study examining if “ the availability of data provide a determined adversary with the tools necessary to inflict nation-state level damage. The results were not made public. Given the risks to the data of their citizens, defense officials should be vociferous advocates for interoperable data protection rules.
This policy brief uses case studies to show that inadequate governance of personal data can also undermine national security. The case studies represent diverse internet sectors affecting netizens differently. I do not address malware or disinformation, which are also issues of data governance, but have already been widely researched by other scholars. I illuminate how policymakers, technologists, and the public are/were unprepared for how inadequate governance spillovers affected national security. I then makes some specific recommendations about what we can do about this problem.
Keywords: Data, National Security, Privacy, Data Flows, AI, Apps, Social Networks
JEL Classification: F1, F5, F52, O32, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation