Crisis Code, Panel 1: Humanitarian Threats in the Age of Cyberwar

Humanitarian thinkers and cybersecurity leaders meet around the Swiss Touch table to explore emerging vulnerabilities in today’s crisis contexts.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


September 28, 2017 from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)


$25 (Panel 1) - $40 (Panel 1&2)

In codifying the rules of war and civilian protection, the Geneva Conventions have protected countless lives for decades. But do international humanitarian laws, standards, and norms need to be reexamined in light of today’s digital reality? While Microsoft’s Brad Smith went so far as to propose a new international framework, the Digital Geneva Convention, the ensuing debate has not emphasized humanitarian imperatives.

The first day of the Crisis Code conference aims to develop a collective understanding of the digital promises and perils of humanitarian protection. In Panel 1, humanitarian thinkers and cybersecurity leaders sit together to synthesize and reframe the day’s learnings, and to explore emerging threats to civilian populations.


6:30pm – Doors open
7:00pm – Panel discussion
8:30pm – Catered networking reception
10:00pm – Doors close

About Crisis Code

Can you put a Red Cross emblem on a Wi-Fi tower in a refugee camp? How can the life and dignity of crisis-affected populations be protected from cyber-attacks and unintended harm in cyberspace? How should humanitarian agencies and their technology partners work together to safely and responsibly meet information and communication needs in crisis?

Together with US, Swiss, and international partners, the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco and swissnex San Francisco convene the two-day conference Crisis Code: Humanitarian Protection in the Digital Age on September 27-28 to collectively examine our international humanitarian and human rights laws, standards, and norms in light of new cyber-realities. The program provides a neutral platform to develop a better understanding of the relationship between cyber-threats and humanitarian protection, and identify a possible agenda for mitigating the digital vulnerabilities of populations in crisis. In workshops and panel discussions, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers will map out new territories of vulnerability in cyberspace, assess existing practice around humanitarian data, and build consensus for action.

This conference is part of the Swiss Touch Campaign, a series of events dedicated to leveraging Switzerland’s innovative and forward-looking edge. Switzerland is striving for a relevant, responsive, and meaningful humanitarianism in the digital age—through building bridges between the technology and the humanitarian sectors, and between Silicon Valley and international Geneva.


Joseph Guay, The Policy Lab

Joseph Guay is an Associate at The Policy Lab and manages the Lab’s research on humanitarian innovation and humanitarian technologies, with a focus on data protection and responsible innovation in fragile contexts. He has supported the development of information management solutions for mass atrocity prevention work in South Sudan, the Ebola pandemic and Nepal earthquake responses, and on human trafficking in the Horn of Africa. He currently advises a pilot project in Myanmar as part of a grassroots mobile conflict and ceasefire monitoring system. Joe has developed innovation strategies and programs for the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI), World Vision’s Nepal Innovation Lab (NLab), the Global Protection Cluster at UNHCR, swissnex San Francisco’s “Everyone a Humanitarian” event series, and the inter-agency Response Innovation Lab (RIL), drawing from strategic and evidence-based design, local strategies research, and systems thinking.


Eva Galperin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

EvaEva Galperin is the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Director of Cybersecurity. Prior to 2007, when she came to work for EFF, Eva worked in security and IT in Silicon Valley and earned degrees in Political Science and International Relations from SFSU. Her work is primarily focused on providing privacy and security for vulnerable populations around the world. To that end, she has applied the combination of her political science and technical background to everything from organizing EFF’s Tor Relay Challenge, to writing privacy and security training materials (including “Surveillance Self Defense” and the “Digital First Aid Kit”), and publishing research on malware in Syria, Vietnam, Kazakhstan.

Sanjana Hattotuwa, ICT4Peace

Sanjana Hattotuwa has served as Special Advisor to Geneva’s ICT4Peace Foundation since 2006. In this capacity, Sanjana works to further the use of information and communications technologies in crisis information management, peacebuilding, and peacekeeping initiatives at the United Nations, the EU, national governments and civil society. This work also includes travel to conflict zones to engage activists, civil society actors and journalists around digital security. In his former role as Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think-tank based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sanjana led leading groundbreaking research and output around civic media and digital citizen engagement. Sanjana is the founding editor of Groundviews, an award-winning web based civic media initiative based in Sri Lanka. In 2011, he was the first Sri Lankan to be awarded a TED Fellowship, two years after he was awarded a News & Knowledge Entrepreneur Fellowship from the Ashoka Foundation.

Jeff Moss, DEF CON

A career spent at the intersection of hacking, professional cybersecurity and Internet governance gives Jeff Moss a unique perspective on information security. Jeff is the founder and CEO of the DEF CON hacker conference and the founder of Black Hat Briefings, two of the world’s most influential information security events. Jeff also served as the CSO/VP of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). His corporate experience includes work with Ernst & Young. LLC and a directorship at Secure Computing. Jeff serves on the Board of Directors for Compagnie Financière Richemont SA and is an angel investor to startups in the security space. Jeff actively seeks out opportunities to help shape the infosec conversation. He is currently a member of the US Homeland Security Advisory Council and the Global Council on the Stability of Cyberspace. He is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Cyber Security.

Paul Nicholas, Microsoft

Paul Nicholas leads Microsoft’s Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy Team. Paul is focused on understanding the future of security, cloud computing, and international relations in cyberspace. He currently leads Microsoft’s work on the Digital Geneva Convention and participates as a subject matter expert for World Economic Forum on cyber resilience and systemic risk. He also helped create two non-profits to improve secure development and incident response. Prior to joining the Microsoft in 2005, Paul served in the U.S. Government as a White House Director of Cybersecurity, a policy advisor on technology in the U.S. Senate, an Assistant Director at the Government Accountability Office, and a Department of Defense analyst. Paul earned a B.A. from Indiana University and an M.A. from Georgetown University.

Nathaniel A. Raymond, Harvard University

Nathaniel A. Raymond is Director of the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He was formerly Director of Operations of the Satellite Sentinel Project at HHI, which was a co-recipient of the 2012 US Geospatial Foundation Industry Intelligence Achievement Award. Raymond was previously Director of the Campaign Against Torture at Physicians for Human Rights and served in a variety of roles at Oxfam America, including Communications Advisor for Humanitarian Response and Interim Coordinator for Tsunami Communications for Oxfam International. He has served in the field in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Gulf Coast, Jordan, and elsewhere. He is a 2013 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow and a 2010 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Security and Human Rights Reform Fellow. Raymond is a co-winner of the 2013 USAID and Humanity United Tech Challenge for Mass Atrocity Prevention. He has co-written four major peer-reviewed articles on the use of information communication technologies in humanitarian response and human rights work.