Melanie Teplinsky

Melanie Teplinsky

Senior Fellow

Melanie J. Teplinsky is a cyber law and policy expert with over 30 years of experience spanning private sector, government, and academia.  Ms. Teplinsky is a Senior Fellow at the American University (AU) Washington College of Law (WCL) Tech, Law, and Security Program, a member of the Washington Post “Cybersecurity 202 Network,” and previously served as WCL Adjunct Faculty for nearly a decade. 

Ms. Teplinsky served on the (pre-IPO) advisory board for CrowdStrike, Inc., a leading cybersecurity technology company, and as a lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where she advised clients on an extensive array of information technology and cybersecurity issues.

Pursuing her childhood passion for cryptology, Ms. Teplinsky began her career as an analyst at the National Security Agency at age 16 and later continued her technical work at the Institute for Defense Analyses' Center for Communications Research.  She subsequently authored a white paper outlining U.S. encryption policy options at NIST’s Computer Security Lab and studied networked technologies at SAIC’s Center for Information Strategy and Policy.  During the Clinton Administration, Ms. Teplinsky interned in the Executive Office of the President, tackling an array of information technology policy issues for OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Information Technology Branch and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Ms. Teplinsky writes and speaks extensively on cyberlaw and policy issues for a wide range of audiences.  She has served as a regular columnist for the Christian Science Monitor’s privacy and cybersecurity column (“Passcode”), and her scholarly work has been published in law review articles, book chapters, think tank reports, and op-eds, including: “We Need a Cybersecurity Paradigm Change” and “Cybersecurity for Innovative Small and Medium Enterprises and Academia” (each co-authored with Franklin D. Kramer and Robert J. Butler); “Cybersecurity and Tailored Deterrence,” (co-authored with Franklin D. Kramer); “Cybersecurity and the Cyberthreat Deterrence Trend” in Recent Trends in National Security Law; and“Spurring the Private Sector: Indirect Federal Regulation of Cybersecurity in the U.S.” (co-authored with Stewart Baker).

Ms. Teplinsky is a frequent speaker and panelist at cyber law and policy programs, regularly addressing cutting-edge cybersecurity, privacy and emerging technology issues (including ransomware and cryptocurrencydata protection, and cyber espionage) for organizations such as the American Bar Association Antitrust Section, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Practicing Law Institute, the Association of Corporate Council Foundation Cybersecurity Summit, and the Georgetown University Cybersecurity Law Institute.  Ms. Teplinsky has appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” as a featured guest on NPR’s “Midday,” and has fielded interview requests from a wide array of global media outlets (including Reuters, Canadian Broadcasting Company, NPR, Politico, and Voice of America).

At American University, Ms. Teplinsky has served on the WCL National Security Law Brief Faculty Advisory Board, co-coached award-winning AU student competition teams for the Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, and is a Faculty Advisor to the AU Student Chapter of the national Women in Cybersecurity organization.

Ms. Teplinsky is a graduate, with honors, of Harvard Law School and Princeton University and is a Harry Truman National Scholarship recipient.  She was a law clerk to the honorable Judge Rya W. Zobel in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts.  She is married to Steven Teplinsky, and they have two daughters.