In terms of antitrust it is clear to see that Antitrust is becoming a more universally discussed issue within all areas of our society. Through our research we have seen antitrust issues arise most prominently in Big Tech, Healthcare, Utilities, and Financial Institutions. Big Tech is arguably the most disruptive area of our research. Companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Meta have an extremely large share of their respective market power. All of these Big Tech companies collect tremendous amounts of data which causes many consumers to question what they are actually doing with this data. Everyday Google is storing information based on your location, search history, purchase history, and emails. This relates to antitrust because Google is taking all of this data and selling it to third party vendors who have the goal of marketing to people who search for their specific things. Because google has so much consumer data control they are essentially able to completely regulate what you can and cannot see on the internet. This then leads us into “cloud” neutrality. We found that most modern tech companies are paying to outsource its computer services with the goal of incubating and hosting their competition. In terms of where we are heading when it comes to antitrust in big tech we can predict that these companies will be able to cover the world with data centers and prevent smaller firms from competing in the market. We predict that Apple and Microsoft will eventually transform from consumer products companies to consumer lifestyle companies where they knock all competitors out of the market by creating their own versions of all essential goods.
We also found that antitrust in the healthcare industry is a very unique area of research. Something that caught our eye when it came to healthcare was mergers and acquisitions. Similar to big tech taking control of smaller firms and eliminating new competition, many hospitals and other health care companies merge with similar goals. When it comes to antitrust in healthcare the FTC aims to keep health care markets as competitive as possible because consumers will benefit from lower costs. Despite this, modern antitrust laws are not preventing hospital mergers. In today’s time COPA’s (Certificate of Public Advantage) are used to govern a Cooperative Agreement (a merger) among two or more hospitals. While this might seem like a good thing, states are having a very difficult time monitoring these COPA’s. States are having a very difficult time monitoring every single move these hospitals make which in return results in hospitals having less regulations and increasing their prices by 50%. We can conclude from this information that eventually hospitals will become an even bigger business and many middle and upper middle class individuals will not be able to afford basic healthcare and medicine. We suggest that a new federal or state organization should be created with the goal of monitoring anticompetitive behavior in health care. We suggest that this organization should check the specific data and keep in close contact with the FTC about possible antitrust violations. We feel that this would be paramount because it would keep hospitals and other health related businesses in a competitive spot to help consumers.
Financial institutions can also fall into the antitrust bubble. It appears that in recent years, Visa and Mastercard may have been blocking merchants from routing payments over other debit card networks. Since Visa and Mastercard have such a huge share of the credit card market one can reasonably conclude that they have participated in some ant competitive behavior. When a transaction is made using a virtual wallet (Apple Pay) the data of the actual card is replaced by a “security token.” As a result of these cards being tokenized, only Visa and Mastercard can understand the token and decrypt it. Based on this information, we were able to infer the possibility that Visa and Mastercard could be limiting the information they send when they enable an online payment to go over a different network, the people said. In terms of future implications, we were able to conclude that credit card companies have an enormous amount of data which they can use against individuals in cases of fraud and identity theft. There is a strong possibility that Visa and Mastercard will require more information in the near future to differentiate different credit card customers. In order to stop this from happening we suggest that the fed establishes a new legislation where there are at least two or more networks on all credit/debit card transactions. This will effectively prevent transactions from getting blocked and data being lost.
Our preliminary report set the foundation for political radicalization in regard to public policy, government & security. When presenting our first interim report, we developed this concept further, examining the levels of radicalization as defined by the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. The Centre uses a pyramid to display the levels of radicalization, with the least radical view being at the bottom (sympathizers) with the most individuals associated with it. At the top are radicals, the most active, dangerous, but also rare individuals. We built off this concept and analyzed the four stages of increasing radical views. The first stage is known as “pre-radical,” in which an individual joins a group or organization and identifies with them. The second stage, “self-identity,” is where an individual believes and accepts the beliefs and views that a group or organization holds. The third stage, “indoctrination,” is where an individual is groomed by the group or organization and is thus pulled even further toward radicalism. The fourth and final stage is “terrorism,” in which the individual joins in the committing of terrorist acts. Through the exploration of the development of radicalism, we have discovered key factors and motives that shape societal behaviors.
In our first interim report, our group projected an increase in political violence by radical actors. When questioned about the motivation behind their actions, many of these individuals cite beliefs grounded in misinformation. The school shooter in the Buffalo massacre broadcasted far-right conspiracies, such as the Great Replacement Theory, which fueled his violent actions. Ironically, other individuals within far-right echo chambers claim that Buffalo, along with other politically-motivated crimes, are false flag attacks carried out by government actors. The radicalization process is dangerous enough alone, but when propagated further by government representatives, individuals radicalize faster and more aggressively. Among 569 GOP candidates running for the House, the Senate, and key statewide offices, 291 (51%) deny and condemn the results of the 2020 election. The widespread denial of the 2020 election sets a jarring precedent. Our group projects continued election denial around the results of the 2022 midterms, especially in swing states. Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all have candidates running in the midterms that have previously claimed a rigged 2020 election. These candidates may lose their respective races and claim a rigged election, further aggravating their supporters regardless of the real facts. If these candidates win their respective races, there may be even more catastrophic effects than if they were to lose. Election deniers may use their authority to refute the results of the 2024 election, calling on supporters to act on their behalf, causing politically-motivated violence, and compromising the democratic voting process.
Our group briefly discussed constitutional instability as a result of radicalization in both our preliminary report and our first interim report. While researching for this report, we delved deeper into the judiciary effects of political radicalization, most namely through constitutional instability. Though controversy and dissent lie at the very heart of U.S politics, some decisions establish a dangerous example for future court decisions. The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization opened the door to future decisions that may also strip rights from individuals. The Court, comprised of six Catholic conservatives, reversed the decision of Roe v. Wade, declaring that abortion is not a constitutional right. Rooted in originalist values, the ruling made larger statements about women’s equality, bodily autonomy, healthcare, and democracy. It is more than possible that future decisions made through the Court’s biased views will further create detriment against citizens’ rights. Looking at the implications of the Court’s decision, our group noted other communities may be affected by the precedent in Dobbs: same-sex couples, as established in Obergefell v. Hodges; interracial couples, as established in Loving v. Virginia; and those on life support, as established in Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health. All of these decisions, similar to Roe’s, were made using the Constitution as a living and breathing document, capable of being revised. However, as alarming as it sounds, all 27 amendments to the Constitution occurred prior to 1992. Both the Court’s and the Legislature’s decision to ignore more than 30 years of social, cultural, and technological progress is alarming. Our group predicts a future redaction of individual freedoms protected through previous judicial decisions.
We have only discussed domestic political radicalization in our analysis previously. However, it is essential to note that political radicalization is a global issue and a diplomatic one as well. Our group found a disturbing trend in political polarization internationally under the East vs. West paradigm. China’s transition from a democratic U.S ally to an autocratic U.S rival has occurred at an alarming pace. In his speech at the 20th National Congress, Chinese president Xi Jinping noted his goal to see China become the dominant world within the next 30 years. Xi mentioned a number of means for achieving his goal: his country’s economic and agricultural self-sufficiency, scientific and technological developments, and a strict stance on global “power politics,” referencing a Cold War mentality. Aside from internal industrial developments, Xi plans to achieve his goal through international aggression directed toward the U.S and its western allies. One part of that aggression is rooted in China’s plans to reunify the mainland with the island of Taiwan. In his speech Xi mentioned that China will “strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity” but that the nation will “reserve the option of taking all measures necessary,” including military force. The U.S recognizes Taiwan’s independence and objects to a forced reunification, creating heightened tensions between the two countries. China’s surging international power and acts of aggression have prompted the U.S to react, posing economic restrictions on foreign direct investments and incentivizing domestic semiconductor production. Our group predicts retaliation through further Chinese aggression. These attacks could be traditional military operations involving the invasion of Taiwan or the disruption of U.S supply lines. More likely, we predict, Xi’s regime may use cyberattacks and misinformation on the U.S and its western allies to assert its dominance. Our group raises a larger concern, however. China (and Taiwan) are only one example of political radicalization at a global scale. We’ve also spotted political developments in regard to Ukraine and Russia, Hungary, Poland, and Iran and Saudi Arabia, among others. The trend is clear: a more radicalized, less tolerant, and more confrontational approach to politics as a whole.
It is true that some may argue cybersecurity might not be as important as other concerning topics, like inflation and solving world hunger. However, everyone should be at least aware of the implications of what we do online and how it could affect us in the future. The simplest way to avoid cyber issues from an individual standpoint is to be cautious of the sites you visit and the links you click on, because if it’s a malicious link, it can cause a lot of harm to your data and security in the future.
Cybersecurity is becoming one of the most sought-after industries due to the strong need of corporate security and vulnerability management to prevent the vast amount of cyberattacks being acted upon each day. Five of the forthcoming key drivers of the potential in cybersecurity are attacks on smaller companies, impetus from regulation, CISO’s being more serious about closing the log vulnerability gap, exceling on fore fronts, and the coattails of cloud transformation.
Smaller organizations have and will continue to be targeted just as much as larger corporations because they are exposed to proliferating digital touchpoints and ecosystem relationships. Because of this, the trust of customers and prove to be difficult to recover and return once the company has been known to be breached. It sends off signals that the companies security is weak and personal data is not safe in their hands. According to McKinsey research on the importance of digital trust, in the past 12 months, nearly 10% of respondents reported stopping business with a company after learning they were victim of a data breach.
Regarding impetus from regulation, federal cybersecurity contracting requirements are trickling down to thousands of small businesses and midmarket contractors. The SEC has been discussing new rules on breach notifications and compliance changes have grown more onerous as ecosystems proliferate. It has come to light that the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification underscores the critical importance of holistic cybersecurity, much of it being beyond the reach of small businesses and the midmarket unless they get help from vendors.
Chief Information Security Officers (CISO’s) have recently become more serious than ever about decreasing the size of the log visibility gap; in lance terms, finding more needles in the haystack will probably end up requiring more commitment on all parts – especially AI since the technology can spot cyberthreats and malicious activities. AI will force a rethinking of technology and how it will shape the market. Since 2019, companies have been boosting their share of total log volume visibility from 30 percent to 50 percent on average and are constantly pushing higher towards 65-80 percent in the future. Small businesses are expected to widen their deployment of end point detection and response (EDR) tooling, to use single panes of glass that ingest and monitor their cloud environments, and to rely on managed-service partners (providers of managed detection and response services) for more sophisticated activities.
Exceling on forefronts has also become a relevant topic in the industry. Current market dynamics give corporations chance to boost their penetration of both existing accounts and the unvented space. The overall growth will be spurred through an evolving threat landscape and talent shortages—a gap of at least 600,000 in the United States alone. Finally, public cloud mitigation will continue to define enterprise technology strategies for the next several years (see attached). Providers (especially product providers) should consider not just only accommodating, but also specializing in hybrid and multicloud architectures.
Given the drastic increase in cyberattacks and the various methods they have been carried out, Statista shows that the global cybersecurity software, services, and systems market will grow from $240.27 billion in 2022 to $345.38 billion by 2026, attaining a 9.5% CAGR. The major factors that are fueling the cybersecurity market include the rising frequency and sophistication of target based cyberattacks, the increasing demand for the cybersecurity mesh, and growing demand for cyber-savvy boards. Cyber-attacks are occurring from anywhere and everywhere, and you do not have to be in the physical target area to carry out an attack, which is why it has become more common for them to occur but also more difficult for the security analysts tasked to remediate the attack and recover any remaining data.
As the digital economy grows, the digital crime will also grow with it. The number of online and mobile interactions that are occurring daily are creating millions upon millions of attack opportunities for hackers. Many of these attacks have led to data breaches that threaten businesses and the people behind them (to the point of bankruptcy). With the current rate it is growing, the damage occurring from cyberattacks will amount to about $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, which is a 300 percent increase from 2015 levels.
Through a survey conducted by McKinsey, nearly 80 percent of the observed threat groups operating in 2021, and more than 40 percent of the observed malware, had never been seen previously. Furthermore, these dynamics point to a nearly $2 trillion addressable market opportunity, which is ten to 15 times the total level of spending today.
Regarding Consumer Data and Privacy, it can be forecasted that there will most definitely be a strong urge from consumers to have more transparency with what companies are doing with their data. It would not be shocking to see more companies getting exposed in the future for illegally selling and sharing users data without their consent. In fact, it is projected that 65 percent of the world’s population will have its personal data and information covered under some type of privacy regulation by 2023 to prevent companies from misusing and stealing data. Currently, that number is only 10 percent. This shows how much more of a focus there has been on how aware consumers want to be regarding what their information is being used for and how it is being securely stored internally. It is no shock to any of us that data breaches happen on a daily basis. It is also one of the biggest cyber threats on the web today. Each year, the number of data breaches continues to grow. In 2019, more than 7.9 billion data records were breached around the world, a 33 percent increase from 2018. It is also true that some organizations have taken on the steps to better secure the data they hold, but it is also true that data breach incidents still have risen. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, there was a 273 percent rise in data breaches. This alone shows that data breaches are most likely going to continue and may become more damaging in the coming years. A further study by Garter concluded that 40 percent of organizations had a AI privacy breach and only four of them turned out to be malicious activity. Furthermore, whether organizations process personal data through an AI-based module integrated into a vendor offering or in house, the risks to privacy and potential misuse of personal data are very clear.
Whether organizations process personal data through an AI-based module integrated into a vendor offering, or a discrete platform managed by an in-house data science team, the risks to privacy and potential misuse of personal data are clear: Heinen states, “Much of the AI running across organizations today is built into larger solutions, with little oversight available to assess the impact to privacy. These embedded AI capabilities are used to track employee behavior, assess consumer sentiment and build “smart” products that learn on the go. Furthermore, the data being fed into these learning models today will have an influence on decisions being made years down the line. Once AI regulation becomes more established, it will be nearly impossible to untangle toxic data ingested in the absence of an AI governance program. IT leaders will be left having to rip out systems wholesale, at great expense to their organizations and to their standing.”
Through all of this, it is evident that there is an increased consumer demand for subject rights and raised expectations about transparency that will continue to drive the need for a centralized privacy usage experience, otherwise known as UX. Normally, forward-thinking organizations would understand that the advantage of bringing together all of the aspects of privacy UX into one self-service portal. Not only will this yield convenience for key constituents, customers, and employees, but it will also generate significant time and cost savings to the organization. Garter has predicted by 2023, 30 percent of consumer-facing organizations will offer a self-service type of transparency portal to provide for consent management and preferences to consumers.
Finally, remote work has become known as “hybrid-everything”. Together with engagement models in work and life settling into hybrid, both the opportunity and desire for increased tracking, monitoring and other personal data processing activities rise, and privacy risk becomes paramount. With the privacy implications of an all-hybrid set of interactions, productivity and work-life balance satisfaction have also increased across various industries and disciplines. Organizations should take a human-centric approach to privacy, and monitoring data should be used minimally and with clear purpose, such as improving employee experience by removing unnecessary friction or mitigating burnout risk by flagging well-being risks.
While all of this may sound scary, there are ways to prevent these attacks from happening in the first place. Organizations can create data backups and encrypt sensitive information, update all security systems and software, conduct regular employee cybersecurity training,
Using strong and complex passwords, install firewalls, reduce attack surfaces, assess vendors, have a kill switch in place, create solid cyber risk policies and strategies, and protect physical premises. These measures can also be implemented to remediate and recover from cyber attacks in the event they do happen, but more patch management and vulnerability assessments need to be done. Hopefully, with the resources becoming available to us now and in the future, we can further secure our world to be more cyber-safe and less cyber-attacked.
In developing our analysis of cyberwarfare, observing the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has served as a case study for much of our research on the topic. Russia has continued to engage in cyber-attacks on Ukraine, especially through attacks on telecommunication. Attacks have not only affected military and government operations but also everyday citizens. Kyivstar, Ukraine’s largest telecom company which serves roughly 26 million Ukrainians has suffered the brunt of these attacks. These attacks have consisted of outright physical attacks on Kyivstar and Kyivstar’s suppliers as well as phishing attacks (which have tripled in recent months). The goal of these attacks is not only to halt communication, but also to access sensitive information from users that Russia could use as an advantage. Telecommunication is crucial in any conflict zone both for governments and citizens. Data volumes on the year of Kyivstar are up nearly 30% despite the outages and setbacks the country has faced. So far, Kyivstar has been fairly successful in keeping Russia out of the network. The CEO Oleksandr Komarov accredits this to his tireless IT staff and what is known as Ukraine’s “IT Army” which consists of 260,000 volunteer hackers that work to counterattack Russia’s infrastructure and in fact was able to temporarily take down Moscow’s Stock Exchange. The developments we are seeing in Ukraine have both the government and telecommunication companies in the United States analyzing their abilities and whether they would be ready to defend against a threat as large and as powerful as a country like Russia. In many accounts, this conflict is viewed as the first time the world has seen cyberwarfare implemented to this degree which has sparked discussion amongst the cyber security community and government. Is the United States ready for an attack of this nature? What precautions should telecom companies be taking? What would happen if a portion of the country experienced a partial outage in service? Would the country rely solely on the military, or would we need an “IT Army” of volunteers? More notably, with the emergence of new technology such as 5G systems, are companies upgrading their defenses accordingly?
Another development in our research has led us to further investigate the implementation of artificial intelligence into cyber defense systems. Although there are many benefits that come with the implementation of AI, there are also several risk factors that are greatly unexplored and underestimated. Machine learning will indefinitely lead to great leaps in defense systems whether that is through autonomy in equipment, faster response times to threats, or more intricate cyber defense systems. However, there are multiple risks that come with these benefits, especially regarding military defense. Firstly, with more autonomy there will always be a risk of equipment (drones, self-driving vehicles, automated weapons systems) being compromised and utilized in malicious ways. Second, the enormous amounts of data used to implement AI could become vulnerable to attackers. Finally, because AI is self-learning, there is a threat of what is known as “data poisoning” or in layman’s terms teaching AI unwanted behaviors whether accidental or intentional. This can make AI somewhat unpredictable, and it can be hard to diagnose errors and malfunctions. These are not new concepts in the world of AI, but in defense systems, these are cause for great concern. In weapons systems, the last thing any military personnel wants is unpredictability. Researchers and government organizations are working to find ways to negate these concerns currently but as technology becomes more advanced, more and more concerns arise.
Another hypothetical our group encountered was the concept of independent actors in global conflicts, especially in terms of cyberwarfare. This concept is not new, independent actors have gained global attention whether through terror (Al Queda 9/11) or crime (Cartels). However, the concept of independent actors involving themselves in cyberwarfare is somewhat untouched. Elon Musk recently made headlines by stating that despite not receiving any sort of compensation from the government, SpaceX will continue to provide internet service for Ukraine with Sarlink during the conflict whereas mentioned before telecom and internet service is unstable. Although the company is losing money, they are independently acting and providing a much-needed service that aids Ukraine in the conflict. This just goes to show that someone with vast amounts of wealth and resources can independently act and impact global conflicts. With the emergence of AI and more prevalent cyberwarfare tactics, there are many people who could interfere in global conflicts and there is not much that any government could do to stop them in cyber space. Quite frankly the cost of carrying out cyber-attacks is cheap, as Elon Musk has stated, and the technology is readily available. The potential for independent actors is unlimited and some have capabilities like that of entire countries. This has led to greater discussions within the industry such as, what is stopping someone from interfering with global conflicts? What if one person had the capability to inflict acts of cyberwarfare on an entire nation? Are governments prepared to counter these threats? Will governments begin to collaborate with big tech companies in commit acts of cyberwar?