Cornell Tech Launches Security, Trust, and Safety Initiative

Cornell Tech has launched a Security, Trust, and Safety (SETS) Initiative, based on its iconic campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island. The initiative will leverage Cornell University’s world-leading academic faculty in computer security, digital safety, policy, ethics, and law, across both the New York City and Ithaca campuses, as well as our longstanding partnership with the Technion.

SETS will guide new teaching, research, engagement, and entrepreneurial activities aimed at making progress on the critical problems unsafe digital technologies pose to societies worldwide.

SETS will push the envelope on topics ranging from foundational theory on computer security and privacy to emerging threats to online safety. This includes equipping industry practitioners with the necessary understanding of generative AI as both a vector for abuse and a way to mitigate it. SETS is part of Cornell Tech’s commitment to improving the cybersecurity landscape in New York City as a partner in Google’s Cyber NYC program.

The initiative will develop an innovative curriculum that further consolidates the emerging field of Trust and Safety as a topic of advanced study while boosting the number of cybersecurity and privacy professionals at a time of a global talent shortage in this field.

The inaugural director of SETS will be Alexios Mantzarlis, who started in the new role at Cornell Tech on May 4. Mantzarlis brings over a decade of leadership in online information quality and was most recently a principal at Google’s Trust and Safety Intelligence team. In this role, he helped the company combat misinformation and designed adversarial testing for emerging AI risks. In his prior role as director of the International Fact Checking Network, he shepherded a seminal partnership between fact-checkers and Facebook and was a member of the European Union’s High Level Group on fake news and online disinformation.

“We are facing unprecedented challenges to securing our digital infrastructure, and we need innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to developing the talent and technologies that we will need in the decades to come,” said Greg Morrisett, Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech. “I’m excited that the Security, Trust, and Safety Initiative, with leadership from Alexios and our faculty, will soon be the place for thought leaders, students, researchers, and practitioners to come together to make much needed progress.”

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