Award for my Master’s thesis on export controls



I recently received an ‘Aquila ascendens’ award for young academics working on security policy for my Master’s thesis on export controls for cyber-surveillance technologies. This prize is awarded on an annual basis by the DialogForum Sicherheitspolitik and the Working Group on Security Policy of the Bundeswehr University Munich. 

My thesis at the Hertie School of Governance evaluated existing export controls for surveillance technologies at the German, European and multilateral level and assessed the potential to introduce additional control measures and other mitigation strategies to protect human rights and promote international security. Professor Dr. Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference and Professor at the Hertie School of Governance, acted as my thesis supervisor.

A research article on recent developments in the discussion on exports controls on cyber-surveillance technologies, which is partly based on my Master’s thesis, will appear soon in the next issue of the peer-reviewed Strategic Trade Review journal. 

Here is the abstract to the upcoming article: 

The global trade in cyber-surveillance technologies has largely evaded public scrutiny and remains poorly understood and regulated. European companies play a central role in the proliferation of a broad spectrum of advanced surveillance systems that have legitimate uses, but have also been repurposed for nefarious ends. Export controls have developed into an important instrument to restrict sales of cyber-surveillance equipment and software to repressive regimes; however, these technologies pose significant challenges to traditional frameworks for the control of dual-use exports. This article provides an overview of current developments on the European level and within the multilateral Wassenaar Arrangement and presents the current state of export controls on cyber-surveillance technology. Most importantly, it discusses the outcome of the EU export control policy review, focusing on the regulation proposed by the European Commission in September 2016, and provides an initial assessment of the key innovations and limitations of the draft text. In addition, the article presents an analysis of the current debate regarding the problematic definition of ‘intrusion software’ in the Wassenaar Arrangement and offers insights into some alternative proposals.


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