Alexander J. Urbelis
P: 212.779.3070 x 101
Mr. Alexander J. Urbelis holds the BCL from New College, University of Oxford, where he was an Editor of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, a JD, magna cum laude, from Vermont Law School, where he was the Technology Editor of the Vermont Law Review, and a BA, summa cum laude, in Philosophy from Stony Brook University.
Alex is an experienced attorney who has also been part of the information security community for more than 20 years and who has truly varied experience as a C-level officer, in-house counsel, private practice litigator, and a federal attorney.
Based in both New York and London, Alex was the Chief Compliance Officer of one of the world’s largest luxury conglomerates. As such, Alex handled all aspects of worldwide legal compliance, including anti-bribery and anti-corruption efforts, whistle-blowing matters, internal and external investigations, and ensured that employees and partners understood and adhered to strict standards of business conduct and corporate social responsibility. Prior to his role as CCO, Alex was in-house information security counsel, charged with responsibility for mitigating information security risk, managing investigations, and developing policies and procedures to go beyond industry standard best practices.
At Steptoe & Johnson LLP in New York and Washington, DC, Alex’s practice centered around several issues at the intersection of law and technology. Counseling companies both domestically and abroad, Alex provided data security and privacy advice, and assisted some of the world’s largest technology companies and non-profit organizations with issues of Internet governance and the expansion of the Internet through ICANN’s new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Alex personally worked on the drafting and submission of nearly 200 gTLD applications during the first application round.
Alex has advised domainers, brand owners, and registrars, on the management of Internet domain name portfolios. He has considerable experience with Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceedings, Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) proceedings, and national Dispute Resolution Proceedings (DRPs) by which country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) arbitrate domain name disputes. Drawing on his many years of information security experience, Alex has been able to successfully investigate and reclaim valuable hijacked domain names by presenting forensically sound and thoroughly collected evidence and intelligence, and using the same to negotiate with registrars.
With respect to commercial litigation and arbitration experience, Alex has been involved in complex commercial disputes, encompassing international and cross-border components. In many of these matters, Alex has provided strategic advice involving information security and technical issues, such as the spoliation of electronic evidence and international disputes involving technology-related contracts.
As an appellate lawyer, Alex has represented US service members and civilians in claims for compensation for torture before the US Supreme Court and has successfully argued for Convention Against Torture protection for potential deportees in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
An active member of several privacy-oriented organizations, Alex has lectured on the subject of cyber security, and has provided strategic legal and technical advice in proceedings involving technology, privacy, national security, and international disputes involving technology-related contracts.
Alex’s federal service includes working for the US Army JAG Corps, the Office of General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, and as a Research Associate in the Technical Analysis Group of Dartmouth College’s Institute for Security Technology Studies, a national center for information security and counterterrorism research and analysis. Alex also served as a judicial law clerk to Chief Judge Effron of the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and as a judicial extern to Justice Denise Johnson of the Vermont Supreme Court.
Alex is regularly called upon by the media to opine on matters both legal and technical, and his published writings range from scholarly works, to bar journals, to op-editorials. Alex is also a correspondent for the Oxford Martin Cybersecurity Capacity Portal, a pioneering and interdisciplinary research center of the University of Oxford.
Public interest work is of great importance to Alex. His pro bono matters have included appellate representation in immigration and death penalty proceedings, and extensive litigation on behalf of indigent tenants in New York.
Select Appearances and Publications
- Coast to Coast AM, Nationally Syndicated Radio with Mike Siegel (22 June 2017) (Mr. Urbelis discussed information security, the Russian hacking investigations, politics, and his 1984 CNN op-ed.)
- On The Money, CBC Business News (16 May 2017) (Mr. Urbelis discussed ransomware and the role that software and operating system developers should play to mitigate this threat)
- WannaCrypt Ransomware Attack Should Make Us Wanna Cry, CNN Opinion (14 May 2017)
- Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed ISPs' ability to monetize customer data and ongoing litigation about Bitcoin licensing requirements) (30 Mar. 2017)
- The Cox Fight and Beyond: Kodi, the Brave New World of Copyright Infringement, and ISP Liability, BloomCon 0x02 Digital Forensics Conference, Bloomsburg University (24 Mar. 2017)
- War Stories From Both Sides of the Cyberwar, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Commercial Lines Seminar, Chicago, Illinois (3 Mar. 2017)
- Not Your Granpa's Payphone: Kiosks Worry Privacy Advocates, The Indypendent (Mr. Urbelis discussed using legal process to obtain data from LinkNYC kiosks) (21 Feb. 2017)
- Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed his CNN op-ed on the parallels between 1984 and the practices of the Trump Administration) (1 Feb. 2017)
- How '1984' Can Decode Trump's First 100 Days, CNN Opinion (31 Jan. 2017)
- Free WiFi Kiosks in Brooklyn Are Raising Concerns Among the Cyber Expert Community, BRIC TV (Mr. Urbelis discussed privacy concerns stemming from LinkNYC wifi kiosks) (26 Jan. 2017)
- Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed President Obama's commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence, UCMJ procedures, and the distinctions between Manning and Snowden) (18 Jan. 2017)
- What Does Rudy Giuliani Actually Know About Cybersecurity?, VICE Motherboard (quoting Mr. Urbelis about the law enforcement implications of Giuliani's cyber role in the Trump administration) (12 Jan. 2017)
- Hacking the Vote: A Conversation with Hacker-Turned-Lawyer Alexander Urbelis, BRIC TV, BK Live (Mr. Urbelis discussed recount lawsuits and information security concerns about voting systems and the election results) (8 Dec. 2016)
- Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed electoral college reform and voting security implications) (16 Nov. 2016)
- Cyber Risk Insurance and Quantifying the Exposure, 2016 Verisk Risk and Analytics Summit, New York, New York (3 Nov. 2016)
- An Update on the Panama Papers and Mossack Fonseca: A Tale of Money Laundering, Data Destruction, and Fallout, Inside the Dark Web Conference, Washington, DC (2 Nov. 2016)
- As Go the Candidates, So Goes U.S. Cyber Policy, SC Magazine (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (1 Nov. 2016)
- Hacking the Vote, BRIC TV, BK Live (Mr. Urbelis debated election information security with the Executive Director of the Board of Elections of NYC) (22 Sept. 2016)
- Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis was a guest speaker discussing sanctions litigation against Mossack Fonseca in the aftermath of the Panama Papers breach) (10 Aug. 2016)
- WhatsApp in the Spotlight after Turkey Publishes Messages of Coup Officers, SC Magazine (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (25 July 2016)
- Code is from Mars, the Courts are from Venus: Reverse Engineering Legal Developments on Reverse Engineering, Hackers on Planet Earth XI, New York, New York (23 July 2016)
- Social Engineering Panel, Hackers on Planet Earth XI, New York, New York (23 July 2016)
- The Panama Papers and the Law Firm Behind It: Shady Lawyers Caught with Their Pants Down, Hackers on Planet Earth XI, New York, New York (22 July 2016)
- State Dep't Crippled by Cyber Practices, Inconsistent Messaging from U.S. Agencies, SC Magazine (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (11 July 2016)
- NYPD Stepping Up Security For Annual Gay Pride Parade, CBS New York (quoting Mr. Urbelis about the effect of increased security personnel presence after the Orlando nightclub massacre) (23 June 2016)
- DHS Intelligence Unit Lacks 'Adequate Oversight" for Continuity Capabilities, SC Magazine (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (26 May 2016)
- Emails Raise More Questions of Clinton Infosec Practices, SC Magazine (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (13 May 2016)
- Legal Effects of Encryption Bills Discussed at Dark Web Event, SC Magazine (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (12 May 2016)
- The Foreseeable but Unintentional Consequences of the Encryption Debate, Inside the Dark Web Conference, New York, New York (12 May 2016)
- Legislation, Regulation and Corporate Defence: Examining the Unintentional Consequences of the Encryption Debate, Oxford Martin Cybersecurity Capacity Portal (5 May 2016)
- The Cox Fight of 2015: The Legal and InfoSec Implications of ISP Liability for Copyright Infringement, BloomCon Digital Forensics Conference, Bloomsburg University (5 Feb. 2016)
- From Hacker to InfoSec Lawyer, Vermont Law Alumni Spotlight (Dec. 2015)
- After a Century of Mass Government Surveillance, It’s Time for New Limits, The Intercept (22 Sept. 2015)
- FireEye Fight Exposes Right Between Researches, San Francisco Chronicle (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (25 Sept. 2015)
- Inside FireEye’s Research Gag, Risky Business Podcast, No. 383, (interviewing Mr. Urbelis) (17 Sept. 2015)
- The (Il)legalities and Practicalities of Revenge Porn, New York State Bar Ass’n, Perspectives (June 2015)
- ICANN’s New gTLD Program: Implications on Security, Stability, and Governance, Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) No. 9, New York, New York, 15 July 2012
- The Legal and Ethical Limits of Active Defense Cyber Security, Center for Terrorism Law, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas (19 Mar. 2010)
- Disabled Tenant Hauls Landlord Into Court, NY Daily News (16 Nov. 2010)
- Queens Landlord-Tenant Dispute Heads Towards Contempt Trial, NY Post (16 Nov. 2010)
- Rethinking Extraterritorial Prosecution in the War on Terror: Examining the Consequences of Extraterritorially Criminalizing the Provision of Material Support to Terrorists and Foreign Terrorist Organizations, University of Connecticut Journal of International Law (2007).
- Toward a More Equitable Prosecution of Cybercrime: Concerning Hackers, Criminals, and the National Security, Vermont Law Review (2005).