Hackers, Trolls, and the Future of the Internet: Cathy Davidson

Distinguished Professor Cathy Davidson (English) is quoted in an important new Pew Research Center report on the uncivil online behavior, pointing to geo-political “publicity” as a potential new “form of cyber terror.”

Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center asked more than 1,500 experts to share their views on whether, in the next 10 years, public discourse online will “become more or less shaped by bad actors, harassment, trolls, and an overall tone of griping, distrust, and disgust.”

Pew quotes Davidson on the continuous arms race pitting Internet hackers and trolls against the rest of society. 

“We’re in a spy vs. spy Internet world where the faster that hackers and trolls attack,the faster companies and for-profits come up with ways to protect against them and then the hackers develop new strategies against those protections, and so it goes,” she says. “I don’t see that ending. . . I would not be surprised at more publicity in the future, as a form of cyber-terror. That’s different from trolls, more geo-politically orchestrated to force a national or multinational response. That is terrifying if we do not have sound, smart, calm leadership.”

Davidson, a renowned scholar, is also the founding director of The Futures Initiative at the GC and the director of HASTAC@CUNY. She recently published an op-ed in Inside Higher Ed on the proposed defunding of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Submitted on: MAR 31, 2017

Category: Faculty Activities