Get to Knows CDT’s Fellows: Mark Raymond

Written by Brian Wesolowski

Mark Raymond is the Wick Cary Assistant Professor of International Security at the University of Oklahoma. He is also one of CDT’s non-resident Fellows, engaging with our policy teams to provide valuable insight from his research. In this Q & A we get to learn more about Mark and his current work.

What is your current research focus?

My research deals with the politics of global rule-making, especially as it pertains to cybersecurity and internet governance issues. So, for example, I have written about multistakeholder governance approaches; and I have also written about the challenges entailed by the highly decentralized nature of Internet governance arrangements. While organizations like ICANN and deliberations in the UN receive a lot of the attention, alongside national legal and regulatory frameworks, many consequential decisions pertaining to internet issues are made by firms or by state and local governments in countries around the world, as well as by individual judges dealing with court cases. The problem is that decisions made in one jurisdiction can often have negative unintended effects on citizens, firms, and users in other jurisdictions. Given the rapid adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, including in critical infrastructure systems, these questions are only becoming more complex – and more important! My research tries to identify these kinds of challenges, and to provide solutions.

What is the most pressing internet policy question of today?

I’m not sure it’s possible or productive to identify one specific question. But there is a general tendency, especially in the United States given its historical role with respect to the internet, to get too focused on using national law and regulation to solve internet policy problems. Or, even worse in some ways, to think that technological problems must have technological solutions. People are pretty creative. If the underlying problem is about human values and interests, people will innovate around technological solutions. In general, I think it’s wise to focus on identifying the underlying human behavior problems and focus on those. And in doing so, we need to focus on how to solve them in a globalized world with highly decentralized governance arrangements that include public and private sector actors.

What issues do you think more students should be studying?

Global governance and policy issues, very much including ethics. Figuring out how to put limits around the affordances of internet technologies, and learning how to maximize their benefits, is going to be the key to continued human flourishing. Ultimately, that is a set of social science questions. There are no right answers to these questions, and they won’t ever go away because we can’t “solve” them once and for all. Governance and policy are about ongoing management of issues in the public interest.

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