Coffee & Conversation | Terrorism and the Internet

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 (1:00 PM – 2:30 PM)
Tower Center Board Room, Room 227, Carr Collins Hall (map)

David Benson, Postdoctoral Fellow, SMU Lyle School of Engineering

David Benson (Ph.D. political science, University of Chicago) is a postdoctoral fellow at SMU in Political Science and Computer Science working on problems related to cyber-security and global internet communications. Benson is working on the NSF project “EAGER: Exploring Trade-offs in Cyber Offense and Defense Using the Lenses of Computer and Political Science”

Benson’s dissertation, titled “The Internet Effect: How Authoritarian Governments Use Internet Communications Technologies to Maintain Control of States” argues that the internet has not decreased Authoritarian regimes ability to structure communications, and has increased their ability to utilize sophisticated strategies of repression, including selective extreme violence when necessary. This dissertation examines pre- and post-internet movements in Iran, China and Burma to demonstrate the theoretical mechanisms described therein.

Benson also has experience in high-value international environments. He has organized 6 conferences in Beijing, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. involving top government officials, scholars and industry leaders. Benson also supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as an Infantry officer, and Operation Enduring Freedom as a contractor. As a U.S. Army officer Benson lead troops in combat in Iraq, and trained over 3,000 Iraqi Police and Army soldiers. He also prepared 10 U.S. divisions intelligence C-IED shops for deployment. Benson can speak, read and write 6 languages, and has lived abroad in Latin America, East Asia and the Middle East.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

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