David P. Fidler

Adjunct Senior Fellow for Cybersecurity


International law, international law and cyberspace, cybersecurity policy and law, national security law, weapons of mass destruction, counterinsurgency operations, and global health


David P. Fidler is Adjunct Senior Fellow for Cybersecurity at the Council on Foreign Relations and is the James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University and an Associate Fellow with the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House. He is an expert in international law, cybersecurity, national security, counterinsurgency, biosecurity, and global health.

Professor Fidler has served as an international legal consultant to the World Bank (on foreign investment in Palestine), the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (on global health issues), the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Science Board (on bioterrorism), the Scientists Working Group on Biological and Chemical Weapons of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, U.S. Joint Forces Command (on rule of law issues in stability operations), the Interagency Afghanistan Integrated Civilian-Military Pre-Deployment Training Course organized by the Departments of Defense, State, Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and various initiatives undertaken by non-governmental organizations in the areas of global health and arms control. He currently serves as chair for an International Law Association study group on terrorism, cybersecurity, and international law.

Professor Fidler’s publications include The Snowden Reader (editor and contributor, Indiana University Press, 2015); India and Counterinsurgency: Lessons Learned (co-editor and contributor, Routledge, 2009); Responding to National Security Letters: A Practical Guide for Legal Counsel (co-author, American Bar Association, 2009); Biosecurity in the Global Age: Biological Weapons, Public Health, and the Rule of Law (co-author, Stanford University Press, 2008); and SARS, Governance, and the Globalization of Disease (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

Professor Fidler has been a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a Fulbright New Century Scholar. He holds a BCL from the University of Oxford, a JD from Harvard Law School, an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford, and a BA from the University of Kansas. He was a Truman Scholar from Kansas. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana. 

All Publications


Cyberspace, Terrorism and International Law

Author: David P. Fidler
Journal of Conflict & Security Law

Governments have long worried about terrorists using the Internet to launch cyberattacks, spread propaganda, recruit and radicalise individuals and raise funds. However, the Islamic State’s exploitation of social media has caused a crisis and generated questions about international law’s role in addressing terrorism in cyberspace.

See more in Global; Terrorism; International Law

Other Report

Countering Islamic State Exploitation of the Internet

Author: David P. Fidler

The use of social media and other Internet-enabled communications by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is pushing the United States and other democracies to react to the abuse of liberal freedoms by illiberal forces. CFR Visiting Fellow David P. Fidler outlines ways to counter the Islamic State's online onslaught through policies anchored in free speech, transparency, and accountability. 

See more in Syria; Iraq; Cybersecurity; Internet Policy


Video Interview

Waging war With No Bombs or Missiles

CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow David Fidler is quoted by The San Diego Tribune about the potential for large-scale cyber attacks on U.S. infrastructure.