Michael Vatis has spent most of his career addressing cutting edge issues at the intersection of law, policy, and technology. Michael’s practice focuses on Internet, e-commerce, and technology matters, providing legal advice and strategic counsel on matters involving privacy, security, encryption, intelligence, law enforcement, Internet gambling, and international regulation of Internet content.
He also is an experienced appellate litigator, representing clients before the US Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals. Michael is praised by clients in Legal 500 as “a deep thinker [who] thoroughly analyzes issues, identifies solutions and is able to apply his analysis to business reality.”
Michael was the founding director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center at the FBI, the first government organization responsible for detecting, warning of, and responding to cyberattacks.
Before that, Michael served as Associate Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Director of the Executive Office for National Security in the Department of Justice, where he advised the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General and coordinated the Department’s activities involving counterterrorism, intelligence, encryption, and cybercrime.
In that capacity, he also helped lead the development of the nation’s first policies regarding critical infrastructure protection. Michael served as Special Counsel at the Department of Defense, where he handled sensitive legal and policy issues for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense and the General Counsel, receiving the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence.
After leaving the government in 2001, Michael served as the first Director of the Institute for Security Technology Studies at Dartmouth, a federally funded counterterrorism and cyber security research institute.
He was simultaneously the founding Chairman of the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P). I3P, a consortium of leading cyber security research organizations, worked with industry, government, and academia to develop a comprehensive research and development agenda to improve the security of the nation’s computer and communications networks.
Michael also served as the Executive Director of the Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age, a highly influential group of technology company executives, former government officials, and civil libertarians that recommended ways the government could more effectively use information and technology to combat terrorism while preserving civil liberties.
Michael was the principal author of the group’s second report, whose recommendations were adopted by the 9/11 Commission and included in the 2004 Intelligence Reform Act.
Michael has been a Senior Fellow at New York University Law School’s Center on Law and Security and a member of numerous expert working groups on counterterrorism, intelligence, and technology issues.
He is currently a member of the National Academy of Science/National Research Council Committee on the Policy Consequences and Legal/Ethical Implications of Offensive Information Warfare and served on the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, an independent group of cyber security experts who examined existing and potential cybersecurity threats and developed recommendations for the US government and private businesses.
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