John Villasenor

Biography: 

John Villasenor is a professor of electrical engineering, public policy, and management at the University of California at Los Angeles and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is also National Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Cyber Security, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and an affiliate at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford. His work addresses the intersection of technology, policy, law, and business. Villasenor’s research considers the broader impacts of key technology trends, including the move to the cloud, the globalization of technology product design and manufacturing, advances in digital communications and electronics, and the increasing complexity of today’s networks and systems. He writes frequently on these topics and on their implications with respect to cyber security, digital media policy, intellectual property, and digital privacy. He has published in the AtlanticBillboard, the Chronicle of Higher EducationFast CompanyForbes, the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles TimesScientific American, Slate, the Washington Post, and many academic journals. He has also provided congressional testimony on multiple occasions on topics including drones, digital privacy, and intellectual property. Before joining the faculty at UCLA, Villasenor was with the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he developed methods of imaging the earth from space. He holds a BS from the University of Virginia and an MS and PhD from Stanford University.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Some Key Issues In The Apple iPhone Decryption Matter

by John Villasenorvia Forbes
Sunday, February 21, 2016

As many people are well aware, on February 16 a U.S. magistrate issued an order compelling Apple to assist the government in bypassing the security features of an iPhone 5C used by one of the perpetrators of the December 2015 San Bernardino attack. 

Analysis and Commentary

If Apple Can Create A Backdoor To The iPhone, Could Someone Else?

by John Villasenorvia Forbes
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On February 16, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym issued an order compelling Apple to assist the government in bypassing the security features of an iPhone 5C that belonged to one of the perpetrators of the December 2015 San Bernardino attack. Apple quickly responded with a lengthy statement from CEO Tim Cook calling the order a “dangerous precedent.” 

Analysis and Commentary

Over-Criminalization And Mens Rea Reform: A Primer

by John Villasenorvia Brookings Institution
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Last month, two bills were introduced in the House and Senate that address mens rea reform. “Mens rea” is a Latin phrase sometimes translated as “guilty mind,” and refers to the issue of intent in crime.

Analysis and Commentary

Why You Should Stop Worrying And Learn To Love Algorithms

by John Villasenorvia Slate
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

They get a bad rap—but that’s because people don’t understand them.

Analysis and Commentary

The Disrupter Series: The Fast-Evolving Uses And Economic Impacts Of Drones

by John Villasenorvia Energy and Commerce Committee
Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, November 19, 2015, at 10:15 a.m.

Analysis and Commentary

Financial And Digital Inclusion Project

by John Villasenorvia Brookings Institution
Monday, August 24, 2015

The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 21 countries.

Analysis and Commentary

If A Cyberattack Causes A Car Crash, Who Is Liable?

by John Villasenorvia Slate
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Last month, Wired published an account describing how security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to wirelessly hack into a Jeep Cherokee. After first taking control of the entertainment system and windshield wipers, they then disabled the accelerator.

Analysis and Commentary

Five Lessons On The 'Security Of Things' From The Jeep Cherokee Hack

by John Villasenorvia Forbes
Monday, July 27, 2015

Last week, Wired published an account describing how two security researchers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, were able to wirelessly hack into a Jeep Cherokee, first taking control of the entertainment system and windshield wipers, and then disabling the accelerator.

Analysis and Commentary

Five Ways To Improve Gender Equity In The Tech Sector

by John Villasenor, Rebecca Sadwickvia Forbes
Monday, June 15, 2015

In many respects, the technology sector in the United States is flying high these days. But when it comes to gender equity, the technology ecosystem, which prides itself on being a meritocracy in so many other respects, is failing badly.

Herbert Lin and John Villasenor
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Emerging Challenges in Cybersecurity

by Herbert Lin, John Villasenorvia Fellow Talks
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Herbert Lin, a senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University; and John Villasenor, a national fellow at Hoover and a professor of electrical engineering and public policy at the University of California at Los Angeles, discuss emerging technologies and the challenges of cybersecurity. 

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