ATbar Housen-Couriel, Deborah (Adv.)

Housen-Couriel, Deborah (Adv.)

Research Associate and Adjunct Professor, ICT, IDC Herzliya; Chief Legal Officer and VP Regulation, Konfidas Ltd.; Advisory Board, Federmann Cyber Security Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Deborah’s expertise focuses on global and Israeli cybersecurity law and regulation. Her law practice advises clients on high-level strategies for legal planning and regulatory compliance in the areas of corporate governance, preparedness, data protection and retention, internet fraud and cybercrime. 

Her practice at Konfidas Ltd. Is supported by ongoing research on critical cybersecurity issues, and she is a research fellow at IDC Herzliya’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism, the Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University, and the Minerva Center at Haifa University’s Law Faculty.  Deborah teaches several university courses on cybersecurity law and regulation, with a focus on the interaction among public international law, domestic legal systems and contemporary technological developments in cyberspace. She taught as a guest lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Exec Ed Program on Cybersecurity: The Intersection of Policy and Technology in 2016. In 2010-11, she co-chaired the National Cyber Initiative’s Policy and Regulation Committee, under the aegis of the Prime Minister’s Office; and served as a member of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau’s Public Committee on the Cyber Professions

Her experience at the international level includes her current work on the Advisory Board for the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise, as a Core Expert on the Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) project, and as a member of the Legal Research Advisory Group for the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace. Deborah was a member of the International Group of Experts that drafted the Tallinn 2.0 manual on state activity in cyberspace; and of the ILA’s Study Group on Cybersecurity, Terrorism and International Law. Deborah also serves as Vice Chair of the American Society of International Law’s Law and Technology Interest Group. She is certified with the IBITGQ EU General Data Protection Regulation Foundation and Practitioner (GDPR F and P). 

Between 2007 and 2014, Deborah was Director of the Wexner Foundation's Israel Fellowship Program, which develops public leadership at the highest levels in Israel and the US together with the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to these positions, Deborah was Director of the Department of Regulation and International Treaties and served in the Director-General’s Bureau of the Israeli Ministry of Communications (1994-2005). While at the Ministry, she served on delegations to the WTO, the ITU, the Oslo Accords negotiations for telecommunications and spectrum management issues, and those for the peace treaty with Jordan. She received her B.A. in History and Anthropology summa cum laude and with Phi Beta Kappa membership from Wellesley College and the École de Sciences Politiques in Paris; her LL.B. and LL.M (cum laude) from Hebrew University; and an MC-MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government as a Wexner Foundation Fellow in 2000-2001. 


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contact: [email protected]; [email protected]

Publications by the Author

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Cyberizing Counter-terrorism Legislation and Policy: National and International Developments


Recent years have seen interesting developments in the evolution of legal and policy counter-terrorism initiatives at both the national and international levels. These developments have been partially driven by an earlier lack of legal frameworks for responding effectively to the bitter experience of terrorist attacks that have taken lives around the globe. The years since the watershed 9/11 attacks have also seen an upturn in counter-terrorism legislation at the national level and policy declarations at the international level, reflecting the expanding understanding on the part of lawmakers and political leaders that counter-terrorism efforts must be prioritized on legislative, policy and political agendas; supported by funding and personnel resources; and engaged with as a global strategic challenge.

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When Hamas comes into your living room


Two recent hacks by Hamas into satellite TV transmissions of Israel’s popular Big Brother show herald a whole new level of cyber confrontation.

First published in the Times of Israel

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The Evolving Law on Cyber Terrorism: Dilemmas in International Law and Israeli Law


Cyber attacks present one of several new challenges to global, national and personal security that result from cyber space weapons development and deployment. These new threats are a daily occurrence in every country and range from ongoing attacks on governmental institutions to the January 2012 "Saudi hacker" breaches of Israeli credit card databases. International law is currently taking important initial steps to address the illegality of cyber attacks and states' right to defend against them in general, and is making inroads regarding cyber terrorism in particular. Nonetheless, much ambivalence remains in both international and Israeli law regarding its definition and ramifications. 

This ambivalence has so far curtailed the development of definitive normative prescriptions applicable to cyber terrorism. Nonetheless, a present focus of threat assessment is the vulnerability of critical infrastructures and networks to cyber terrorism attacks. Due to the ability of terrorists to leverage potentially devastating cyber attacks at relatively low cost to themselves, this area of asymmetry should become prioritized as new arena for counter-terrorism law and policy. Indeed, it seems to be garnering "fast track" treatment due to the particular threats these attacks pose. 

In this article, the emerging international legal norms prohibiting cyber terrorism will be examined; and the relevant provisions of Israeli legislation will be analyzed in a comparative context. In conclusion, four observations about present trends and global legal developments will be offered.

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