It is almost impossible to read the news without coming across a lead story cataloguing the latest cyber breach or misuse of data. Intellectual property is being stolen from companies at an alarming rate. Foreign actors are meddling in elections. Criminals use the dark recesses of the internet to sell drugs, guns and even people. The volume of these events lays bare the paradox of the digital economy and cyber security. On one hand, technology has led to convenience, efficiency and wealth creation. On the other hand, this great push to digitize society has meant building inherent vulnerability into the core of the economic model. This is all taking place atop a deeply fragmented and underdeveloped system of global rules.
Given this paradox, the purpose behind this essay series — which is also published as a collection — is threefold. First, it brings together an interdisciplinary team, including the private sector, academics and policy makers to provide fresh thinking on data governance, cyber security and new technology. Second, it aims to advance a public policy debate that recognizes both the increase in cyber security threats and the economic potential for Canadian firms to capitalize on a growing market. Finally, it argues for the advancement of a more stable international institutional order. Pursuing this agenda is a national imperative; nothing short of the future of the Canadian economy hangs in the balance.