Information Wars: the fine art of mass manipulation in the digital age

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Following the 2016 US election, the role of information in politics and society is under increasing scrutiny. Is information benign, a political weapon or the first casualty of the post-truth era? Historically, information was a standard tool and target of political subversion, but now as it forms the backbone of our economies, social lives and political anatomies, are we especially vulnerable to its exploitation and misuses? Members of the College's academic team join in lunchtime conversation with the Chief Operating Officer of the brand new Australian Cyber Security Growth Network to offer their perspectives on the uniqueness of contemporary information wars.

Associate Professor Matthew Sussex is the Academic Director at the National Security College. His main research specialisation is on Russian foreign and security policy, but his interests also cover government and politics in Eurasia, strategic studies, terrorism and counter-terrorism, energy security and Australian foreign policy. He is particularly interested in contemporary trends in violent conflict, especially in 'hybrid' warfare and in the evolution of propaganda. Prior to joining NSC, Dr Sussex was Director of Politics and International Relations at the University of Tasmania.

Professor Roger Bradbury leads the Strategy and Statecraft in Cyberspace research program at the National Security College. He is a complex systems scientist, trained originally as a zoologist, whose research interests lie in the modelling and simulation of the dynamics of coupled social and natural systems. In recent years he has worked in the Australian Intelligence Community on the strategic analysis of international science and technology issues. Professor Bradbury was the Chief Scientist in the Bureau of Resource Sciences in the 1990s and leader of the Marine Systems Group at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in the 1980s. He is particularly interested in cyberspace as a strategic domain.

Michelle Price is the Chief Operating Officer of the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network Ltd, a government-funded, industry-led initiative to help grow Australia's cyber security sector. Her previous roles include as Senior Advisor for Cyber Security at the National Security College and at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, where she was responsible for Australia's Cyber Security Strategy, launched by the Prime Minister in April 2016.

Dr Tim Legrand is a Lecturer at the National Security College. His interdisciplinary research concerns the structures, management and processes of public administration. His work draws on, and contributes to political science, law, international relations, security studies and public policy around several research streams that include international policy transfer, evidence-based policy-making, transgovernmental policy networks, the governance of national security and emergency policy, and crisis management. Dr Legrand has worked as a policy consultant for the UK Home Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

This event will be followed by a light lunch reception.