With over 25 years of military and security experience in protecting critical infrastructures, Michael focuses on the integration of physical, information and human security concepts and operations. Having worked in corporate, government and think-tank environments focusing on international security, policy development and business operations, he possesses a unique cross-sector understanding of the modern security challenges and existing approaches to addressing them. In 2014-2017, he managed an international program that focused on providing Eurasian governments (FSU region) with capacity building support related to ICT and information security policy development. Among other activities, he was part of international expert teams that assisted governments of Ukraine and Armenia with developing their national information security strategies. Betwen 2016-2018, as a Visiting Research Fellow with the Centre for Cyber Security and International Relations (University of Florence), he had been a member of the OSCE Academic Steering Group on CBMs in cyberspace, developing recommendations to enhance transparency and cooperation in cyberspace. With a military background in CIMIC and PsyOps, he was engaged in fall 2017 as a Lead Consultant on a comprehensive study on propaganda campaigns and information operations for a major international strategic communications firm and its military client.
More recently, he completed a chapter analysing the 2015 UN GGE recommendations for critical infrastructure protection norms published by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs in 2018. During 2019 he led a team of analysts assessing the Ukrainian information space (cyber and media) during Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the country as part of the Canadian elections monitoring mission. Currently, he leads or participates in various projects dealing with influence/information activities, including consulting the Wikimedia Foundation.
Alicia Wanless researches how we shape — and are shaped — by a changing information space. With more than a decade of experience in researching and analysing the information environment, focusing on propaganda and information warfare, Alicia conducts content and network analysis, and has developed original models for identifying and analysing digital propaganda campaigns. She applies this learning to support government, military and major tech companies to develop policies and integrate information activities into training programs that better reflect how the information environment is manipulated.
Alicia has shared her work and insights with senior government, military, industry leaders and academic experts at Wilton Park, the Munich Security Conference, Oxford University, Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, the Hedayah Centre, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory among others.
Alicia is currently a PhD Researcher at King’s College (UK) exploring alternative frameworks for understanding the information environment. She is the director of research at Alton Corp and the Co-Director of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Her work has been featured in the CBC, Forbes, and The Strategy Bridge, and she has co-authored numerous academic papers and chapters related to propaganda. In 2018, Alicia sat on programming committees for the conferences Social Media and Society, and RightsCon. She has also undertaken research on Facebook usage during the U.S. elections with Ryerson University’s Social Media Lab.