Senior Consulting Fellow, Chatham House
Keir Giles is a Senior Consulting Fellow with the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, and also works with the Conflict Studies Research Centre, a small group of subject matter experts which was formerly part of the UK Ministry of Defence. Keir studies information warfare, including the subdomains of computational propaganda and of cyber conflict. He is a regular speaker on the topic, and has given open conference presentations and closed briefings to government bodies in a dozen European countries, the United States, and Canada.
Keir has been involved with the uses and abuses of the internet for over 25 years. In previous roles, he developed the strategy for BBC Monitoring, the UK Government’s open source collection agency, to adapt its operations to respond to the emergence of the internet, and also gained practical experience as a network engineer. He now combines this technical background with in-depth study of hostile information activities to develop forward-looking analysis and assessments of cyber and computational propaganda threats.
Keir is a member of several academic and editorial boards on cyber and information warfare studies, and has written or co-authored three monographs assessing international attitudes and approaches to new bodies of law governing the internet and information security. He co-authored ‘Shifting the Core’, an influential article calling for an urgent reconsideration of basic assumptions on privacy, encryption and national cyber security in the context of constant, ubiquitous, and unconscious use of connected devices. He is also the author of a significant number of groundbreaking studies on Russian theory, doctrine, and structures for engaging in information and cyber confrontation, many of which pre-date the explosion of interest in Russian information warfare, subversion, and disinformation that followed the annexation of Crimea.
Since the beginning of 2019 Russia has embraced a more aggressive rhetoric towards NATO, the European Union, and Western leaders. The Kremlin communicates its narratives both to domestic audiences via state-controlled media, and to international audiences via Kremlin-backed outlets like RT and Sputnik. The West is presented as weak and vulnerable in the face of Russian hybrid threats (from warfighting to cyber aggressions), while at the same time Russia is being framed as a victim of such attacks from the ‘agrressive West’. In this discussion we will analyse what steps should be taken to set us on a desirable path in terms of cyber and digital security policy.