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Alum Mike McConnell to headline Charleston conference on cybersecurity

Seated man with glasses, Mike McConnell
McConnell, a 1966 Furman graduate, is a retired vice admiral who managed more than 100,000 people in the U.S. intelligence community from 2007 to 2008.

Former U.S. National Intelligence Director and Furman graduate Mike McConnell will kick off a daylong conference in Charleston Friday, Feb. 9 on whether cybersecurity is keeping America safe or making the country more vulnerable.

The conference at the Charleston Music Hall, which includes other internationally-recognized computing experts, is hosted by the Charleston Law Review of the Charleston School of Law and the Riley Institute at Furman.

“If there’s anyone in America who is keenly aware of cyber-threats and cyber-safety in the United States, it’s Admiral McConnell,” said Ed Bell, president of the Charleston School of Law.  “We and the Riley Institute are honored that he will be here to give a realistic view to a topic on the leading edge of law to our students as well as area attorneys, educators and information technology experts who are attending the Law & Society symposium.”

McConnell, a retired vice admiral who managed more than 100,000 people in the U.S. intelligence community from 2007 to 2008, had a 40-year Navy career, including 29 years as an intelligence officer.  Currently, he serves as a senior executive advisor at Booz Allen and Hamilton. McConnell graduated from Furman in 1966.

“Now in its tenth year, this series is unique in the country in focusing on critical societal issues within a legal framework,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.  “This year is no exception.  The topics are more relevant than ever.”

Following McConnell’s 9 a.m. keynote address at the Charleston Music Hall, three panels of experts and attorneys will address critical issues.

10 a.m.: “Staying Safe While Keeping Secrets: National Security, Law Enforcement, and Civil Liberties.”  Panelists include Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon and retired Army Col. Chuck Eassa, lead researcher at the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Cyber and Information Technology Lab

11:15 a.m.: “The Next 9/11: Cyberattacks as Acts of Terrorism.”  McConnell and Mark Senell, vice president of global sales for Raytheon, will participate in the panel discussion.,

1:45 p.m.: “Corporate Cybersecurity: Does Encryption Fully Protect You and Your Clients?”  Participants include Charleston forensic specialist Steve Abrams, a Charleston School of Law graduate, and J.W. Choi, manager of SK Telecom’s Quantum Technology Lab in Korea.  He will address next-generation quantum computer issues.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  Space is limited.

Attorneys who attend can receive Continuing Legal Education credits at no cost.  The symposium qualifies for four hours of CLE credits in South Carolina. Registration for the CLE (Course 181363) starts at 8:30 a.m.  A complete schedule of events is online.

About the Charleston Law Review

The Charleston Law Review is the flagship journal of the Charleston School of Law.  In its past issues, the Charleston Law Review has published significant public figures ranging across the political spectrum from President-elect Barack Obama to John Yoo, former presidential legal advisor to President George W. Bush.  The Law Review will publish a companion issue to the symposium that may be ordered here.

About the Charleston School of Law

The Charleston School of Law offers students the unique opportunity to study the time-honored practice of law amid the beauty and grace of one of the South’s most historic cities, Charleston, South Carolina. Students at the Charleston School of Law study law as a profession and find a faculty focused on using the law as a calling in the public interest.  Faculty members devote their full attention to excellent teaching and scholarship, both in and out of the classroom.  Where traditions meet opportunity — that is Charleston and the Charleston School of Law.

About the Riley Institute at Furman

The Riley Institute at Furman, named for Furman graduate and former S.C. Gov. Richard Riley, offers an array of programs designed to engage students and citizens across South Carolina in the various arenas of politics, public policy and public leadership.  It is associated with the university’s Department of Politics and International Affairs.


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