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Ryan Ellis

Mailing address

124 Mt. Auburn Street Suite 190, Room 106
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Mailbox 117
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Ryan Ellis

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age

Contact:
Telephone: 617-495-1318
Email: ryan_ellis@hks.harvard.edu

 

Experience

Ryan Ellis writes and researches on topics related to cybersecurity, infrastructure politics, homeland security, and communication law and policy. Prior to joining the Belfer Center, Ryan was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and served as a Project Manager at the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). He holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of California, San Diego.

 

 

By Date

 

2014

June 2014

"Creating a Secure Network: The 2001 Anthrax Attacks and the Transformation of Postal Security"

Book Chapter

By Ryan Ellis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age

The author critically examines the creation and implementation of new security standards within the postal network after the 2001 anthrax attack. Drawing on research conducted at the Smithsonian Institution and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the article traces the politics inscribed within the architecture of new security technologies. The article sets debates about postal security within a broader account of political economy. The article emphasizes the possibilities and limitations of disasters to create moments of disruption and undergird new political interventions.

 

2013

July 24, 2013

"Protecting US Critical Infrastructure: One Step Forward for Cybersecurity, One Back?"

Op-Ed, Technology+Policy | Innovation@Work

By Ryan Ellis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age

"...[T]he Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control System Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) recently canceled two long-planned conferences and a number of training sessions. The cancellations are likely an effect of sequestration—no funds."

 

 

Wig Zamore STEP Photo

June 13, 2013

"Dangerous Cargo: Action Needed on Hazardous Materials"

Op-Ed, Power & Policy Blog

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management and Ryan Ellis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age

"The threat of terrorism complicates matters even further. In April, two men in Canada were arrested for plotting an attack on rail lines near Toronto. In the US, homeland security officials have warned that shipments of hazardous materials are an attractive terrorist target."

 

 

March 5, 2013

"Cyber Security"

Media Feature

By Ryan Ellis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age

Dr. Ellis raises an interesting question: Does the pursuit of offensive cyber capabilities undermine domestic security? The conversation highlights a growing area of concern and ongoing debate.

 

 

2013

"The Premature Death of Electronic Mail: The United States Postal Service's E-COM Program, 1978–1985"

Journal Article, International Journal of Communication, volume 7

By Ryan Ellis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age

In the late-1970s, the United States Postal Service (USPS) launched an innovative electronic mail service, "E-COM," that sought to integrate networked computing and the postal system. Postal management envisioned E-COM as a path-breaking program that would carve out a key place for postal service in the coming information age. The following examination of the ultimate failure of E-COM contributes to the history of networked computing and communications, while additionally providing a unique perspective on the current precarious state of postal service in the United States.

 

2010

AP Photo

February 2010

"Rail Transportation of Toxic Inhalation Hazards: Policy Responses to the Safety and Security Externality"

Discussion Paper

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management, Mark Fagan, Philip Auerswald, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), 2003–2014; Former Assistant Director, STPP, 2002–2003, Ryan Ellis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age and Raphael Barcham

Toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemicals such as chlorine gas and anhydrous ammonia are among the most dangerous of hazardous materials. Rail transportation of TIH creates risk that is not adequately reflected in the costs, creating a TIH safety and security externality. This paper describes and evaluates policy alternatives that might effectively mitigate the dangers of TIH transportation by rail. After describing the nature of TIH risk and defining the TIH externality, general policy approaches to externalities from other arenas are examined. Potential risk reduction strategies and approaches for each segment of the supply chain are reviewed. The paper concludes by summarizing policy options and assessing some of the most promising means to reduce the risks of transportation of toxic inhalation hazards. Four policy approaches are recommended: internalizing external costs through creation of a fund for liability and claims, improving supply chain operations, enhancing emergency response and focusing regulatory authority. It is further suggested that the Department of Transportation convene a discussion among stakeholder representatives to evaluate policy alternatives.

 

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Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.