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Vivek Mohan

Vivek Mohan

Associate, Cyber Security Project




Vivek Mohan is an associate with the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program's (STPP) Cyber Security Project at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Vivek's research and writing span a broad range of topics that touch on the intersection of technology, law, and policy. He has a particular interest in how emerging technologies being brought to market in a variety of sectors interact with existing laws and regulations and regularly advises government agencies and institutions on these issues. Vivek's current research interests are on cybersecurity governance and regulation, and he regularly lectures on cybersecurity law at the invitation of HKS faculty.

Vivek works in Washington, D.C., as an associate at the law firm Sidley Austin LLP, where he practices in the Privacy, Data Security, and Information Law group.  At Sidley, Vivek counsels major technology, healthcare, industrial, and telecommunications companies on privacy and security program management, cyber incident response, surveillance and information sharing, and attendant global public policy considerations. Vivek is a part of the Sidley team that advises working groups of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on governance and accountability issues relating to the "stewardship transition" of the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) function.

From 2011–2013, Vivek was a research fellow with STPP and was affiliated with the Exploration in Cyber International Relations (ECIR) subproject, a joint Harvard-MIT research program funded by the Department of Defense's Project Minerva. Vivek served as a teaching assistant to professors from Harvard Law School and Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Science for courses focused on cybersecurity, privacy, and internet governance.  During this time, Vivek advised the European Commission on the development of cyber insurance markets and briefing the Federal Communication Commission's Open Internet Advisory Committee on the issue of "specialized services."   Vivek also worked with Belfer Center Senior Fellow David H. Petraeus on the Project on The Coming North American Decades.

In connection with his work at the Belfer Center, Vivek held a special appointment with the Internet Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, where he helped lead several cyber fraud investigations.  Prior to joining the Belfer Center, Vivek was an attorney at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where he worked on cybersecurity, privacy, and telecommunications issues. He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he served as an Articles Editor for the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. Vivek received his B.A. in Economics magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley.



By Date



September 2013

Securing the Net: Global Governance in the Digital Domain


By Puji Abbassi, Martin Kaul, Vivek Mohan, Associate, Cyber Security Project, Yi Shen and Zev Winkelman

What will be the shape of the internet in 20 years? The authors explore possible futures in global cyber security governance and recommend a robust set of actions that pave a path forward towards establishing an environment in which a more cooperative form of global cyber security governance could evolve.



May 15, 2013

"Privacy Consciousness in the Big Data Era"

Op-Ed, Hive

By Vivek Mohan, Associate, Cyber Security Project

"...[S]ocietal inertia cannot be held up ipso facto to argue for stronger privacy protections when we ourselves are responsible for sharing the data that is now traversing the endless servers of cyberspace. The benefits of the big data revolution are myriad, cut across sectors, and the best is surely yet to come."



April 12, 2013

"Why the Government Matters: A Primer for Data-Minded Entrepreneurs"

Op-Ed, Hive

By Vivek Mohan, Associate, Cyber Security Project

"...[A]mong the informed public, fear of misuse of personal information is not limited to a wary eye towards cyber criminals — increasingly, concern has been voiced at the increasing power of the government in electronic surveillance."



October 2012

"Decrypting the Fifth Amendment: The Limits of Self-Incrimination"

Journal Article, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law Heightened Scrutiny, volume 15

By Vivek Mohan, Associate, Cyber Security Project and John Villasenor

In "Decrypting the Fifth Amendment: The Limits of Self-Incrimination in the Digital Era," Vivek Mohan and John Villasenor examine the scope of information protected from compelled self-incriminating disclosure by exploring the boundaries of the contents of the mind. They propose a framework for bringing the foregone conclusion doctrine, which was articulated in 1976, into the digital era, and conclude that the question of what constitutes a "testimonial act" must be revisited to proactively ensure that emerging technologies do not eviscerate the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.



February 2012

"Cloud and Mobile Privacy: The Electronic Communications Privacy Act"

Discussion Paper

By Vivek Mohan, Associate, Cyber Security Project

Consumer expectations of online and mobile privacy have in recent years diverged significantly from reality. In certain circumstances, the United States government has the ability to access a consumer's cloud-based email, location data gathered from their mobile phones, and information about what calls a user places on a mobile device—without a warrant. While a broad coalition is spearheading reform efforts in Washington, providers of these services should take proactive steps to bring consumer understanding of their privacy more in line with reality.

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 Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.