In a debate broadcast from Washington, D.C., HLS Professor Jonathan Zittrain ’95 argued that the “Cyber War Threat” is a real and present danger. Zittrain was teamed with former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, against Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and Bruce Schneier, an internationally renowned security technologist. The latter pair argued that the threat has been overstated.

Zittrain, the author of “The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It,” is a professor of Internet law at both Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He was recently named to a joint appointment as Professor of Computer Science in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The Oxford-style debate, which took place on June 8, was organized by the Intelligence Squared Foundation and pitted the expert teams against one another in a contest for audience votes.

Rotenberg and Schneier argued that hyperbolic media frenzy did not justify government infringement upon civil liberties. Zittrain and McConnell focused on the necessity of protecting our vast technological networks, noting a lack of infrastructural security and our incredible level of dependence on these systems.

More information about the debate, including a transcript and downloadable audio, can be found at

—Alli Chandra