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Cyber Domain in the Mideast: Implications for Business, Security, and Society

Date and time: Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 9:30 am to 2:20 pm Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)

Register here [1] for each individual panel.

MEI is pleased to announce the cyber program’s first half-day conference. The cultures, politics, economies, and security concerns of the Middle East are sui generis on the world stage. And the digital revolution, like every industrial revolution before it, is having unique implications for each of these facets of society. This conference will investigate the intersections of these trends and issues, and paint a clearer picture of the Middle East today and into the future.

Conference agenda (additional speakers to be announced):

9:30AM – 10:00AM | Opening Remarks

10:00AM – 10:50AM | Panel I: Digital Transformation and the Future of Business in the Middle East

As internet penetration grows in the Middle East and resource-rich countries pivot towards developing knowledge economies, governments need to craft regulatory environments that foster digital entrepreneurship and attract business and investments. But every economic revolution comes with challenges. This panel convenes business leaders from different countries to discuss their economic development plans and the obstacles and opportunities in building a sustainable business environment for the 21st century.

11:00 AM – 12:00PM | Panel II: Privacy and Surveillance, Freedom and Censorship: The Social Contract in the Digital Age

Across the world, governments are grappling with the privacy-security dilemma and the national security implications of emerging technologies like facial recognition and widespread encryption. At the same time, social media has given practically everyone a platform on a digital public square. This panel will examine how the political and security dynamics of the Middle East uniquely influence government approaches to surveillance and censorship.

12:00PM – 12:30PM | Lunch Break

12:30PM – 1:20PM | Panel III: Public Diplomacy and Influence Campaigns in the Internet Age

Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election made the threat of disinformation and influence campaigns a front-page issue, but the threat is not new. Governments and non-state actors have sought to influence public opinions within and beyond their borders for decades. This conversation will examine influence campaigns in the Middle East, with a particular focus on social media, and discuss their excesses, dangers, and limits.

1:30PM – 2:20PM | Panel IV: Cyber Warfare

From Shamoon to Stuxnet, the Middle East has become an under-recognized hotbed of interstate cyber conflict. This panel will explore the history of cyber warfare in the Middle East, the threat it poses to stability in the future, and how the risk can be contained.

For more information, contact the Programs Department [3], tel. +1 202-785-1141 ext. 202.