In our latest episode, Alex Botting and Jen Ellis from the Center for Cybersecurity Policy & Law are joined by the Australian Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, Brendan Dowling. 

In the conversation, Ambassador Dowling provides context on Australia’s numerous recent cyber policy developments, including the appointment of the inaugural Australian National Cyber Security Coordinator, Air Marshal Darren Goldie, the upcoming 2023-2030 Australian national cybersecurity strategy, and some of the lessons learned from the recent Medibank and Optus cyber incidents. 

Jen and Alex emphasize how Australia has been incredibly forward-leaning in the space, including updating their critical infrastructure legislation to require cyber incident reporting, as well as being one of the first countries to establish a Cyber Ambassador position. Ambassador Dowling shares details on his role, the importance of advocating for and influencing cyber and technology policy globally, and Australia's particular focus on regional cyber capacity building in the Pacific and South-East Asia. The conversation includes reflections on the state of global internet governance, and recent multilateral cyber policy efforts like the UN Cybercrime Treaty and the risks of authoritarian influence in these efforts. 

In addition, this week’s episode features a flurry of important cyber policy news, including lots of activity on the AI front. Alex talks about the UK’s AI Safety Summit and the Bletchley Declaration, as well as the U.S. Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. Our colleagues are also talking about the EO – check out Heather West’s overall analysis of the AI E(aye)O and this blog on AI hacking from Harley Geiger and Tanvi Chopra. 

Jen talks ransomware news with a short recap of the third convening of the International Counter Ransomware Initiative in Washington DC. The Initiative appears to be gaining momentum, with 14 new members introduced - including Vanuatu - and new commitments made for upcoming activity, capacity building, and mutual support. She also touches on a recent ransomware attack in Germany that closed down cyber operations for 70 municipalities. Germany’s Office for Information Security (BSI) confirms that the country is experiencing an all time high number of ransomware attacks at the moment in their status report, which is, unsurprisingly, in German. For English speakers, this article discusses the report’s findings.  

Finally, our Mystery Trivia Master is the delightful Alison King, Vice President of Government Affairs at Forescout, and a former Cyberspace Solarium Commission staffer. 

Check out the newest Distilling Cyber Policy episode on Spotify, Apple or Google. As always, if you would like to submit cyber policy trivia, or have topic ideas for upcoming episodes, please email

Ines Jordan-Zoob

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