Christopher Painter ’80, who left the U.S. Department of State this summer after six years as coordinator for cyber issues, will give the annual Bartels World Affairs Fellowship Lecture on Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. in Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall.
In his talk, “Cyber Diplomacy: New Tools in the Fight Against Hackers, Attackers and Other Threats,” Painter will describe how cybersecurity has metamorphosed from a niche issue of interest to technical experts to a core concern for national security, economic security, human rights and foreign policy.
He will discuss how the tools of diplomacy are being deployed against hacking, cyber attacks and intrusions by nation states and criminals, as well as against efforts to control or disrupt cyberspace by repressive regimes.
Painter will also share an insider’s view of several international cybersecurity incidents, including the North Korean hacking of Sony Pictures, attacks on critical infrastructure, and Russian interference in democratic processes in the United States and Europe.
Painter’s visit is organized by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and timed to take place during International Education Week (Nov. 13-17).
Painter was appointed cyber coordinator by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011. He led American delegations to numerous international cybersecurity meetings and chaired the G8 High Tech Crime Subgroup from 2002 to 2012.
Painter has worked with dozens of foreign governments in bilateral meetings and has been a frequent spokesperson and presenter on cyber issues around the globe. He negotiated joint agreements on cyber norms for responsible state behavior, and helped create policies to enhance global cybersecurity and stability by advancing an open, interoperable, secure and reliable internet and information infrastructure.
He is a recipient of the RSA Conference Award for Excellence in the Field of Public Policy (2016), the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service (2002) and the Intelligence Community Legal Award (2008), and he has been named to the “Federal 100” list, among other honors.
Prior to his work at the state department, Painter served in the White House as senior director for cyber policy and acting cyber coordinator at the National Security Council. Under President Barack Obama, he was a senior member of the team that conducted the Cyberspace Policy Review (2009) and oversaw the International Strategy for Cyberspace (2011), intended to synchronize U.S. foreign policy positions on cross-cutting cyber issues.
He also served in the computer crime and intellectual property section of the Department of Justice under Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, and was deputy assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division. At the FBI, Painter was a key member of the National Cyber Study Group that produced the Comprehensive National Cyber Initiative in 2007, and he helped write the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace in 2003.
After Cornell, Painter graduated from Stanford Law School. He began his federal career in 1991 as an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, where he led some of the most high-profile cybercrime investigations in the country, including the prosecution of notorious computer hacker Kevin Mitnick.
The Henry E. and Nancy Horton Bartels World Affairs Fellowship was established in 1984 to foster a broadened world view among Cornell students by bringing to campus persons who have distinguished themselves as international public figures.
In addition to delivering a major public lecture for the university and local community, Bartels fellows spend two or three days on campus interacting with faculty and students, especially undergraduates.
Heike Michelsen is associate director for academic programming at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.