News from the Bush School

Bush School Students Finalists in World’s Largest Cyber Security Law & Policy Challenge

November 29, 2017

Bush School student receiving their award
Shannon Abbott and Anne Richmond receiving their Challenge awards

Shannon Abbott and Anne Richmond, both second-year international affairs students at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, placed third in the 2017 Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) Law and Policy Challenge. The competition took place at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.

The US Naval Academy team won the competition, with UC Berkeley placing second.

Anne Richmond

Anne Richmond

CSAW is the largest student-run cyber security event in the world, featuring international competitions, workshops, and industry events. The annual Law and Policy Challenge requires contestants to think about the big picture of cyber security law, policy, economics, and governance. Student teams from across the country compete for the chance to present their best legal arguments in front of a panel of renowned judges. The competition is open to any student interested in these issues, regardless of academic background. The 2017 competition addressed questions at the cutting edge of privacy, security, and technology. Participants researched a highly relevant subject and argued their position on the topic in a written legal brief.

Shannon Abbott explained that CSAW and the Law and Policy Challenge includes a number of different types of competitions to both celebrate and raise awareness of the week.

“This year’s competition required teams to develop a policy proposal related to the disclosure of investigative methods that use computer code,” she said.

Shannon Abbott

Shannon Abbott

Anne Richmond said the two researched and developed policy options, then submitted their preliminary paper in September, and were selected as finalists.

“We received additional information a couple of weeks before the competition, which helped us further develop our argument, so we incorporated that into the paper and submitted it. At the final round, we presented our argument, using a visual aid, in front of other finalists, judges, and other CSAW participants and answered questions after the presentation in the style of an appellate court,” she said.

As finalists, all their expenses were paid by the CSAW organizers. The three top teams received cash prizes of $1000, $750, and $500.

Dr. Andrew L. Ross, a Professor in the Bush School’s Department of International Affairs, served as the team’s faculty advisor. “Evidently this is the first time our students have entered the CSAW contest. We’re all very proud of how well Shannon and Anne did against some tough competition,” said Ross.