2018 Guidelines

Updated rules will be posted for the 2019 competition. The Rules & Guidelines are left here to give you a sense of the competition. 

US-Canada Rules & Guidelines

Competition Overview

NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the NYU Center for Cybersecurity and NYU Policy Case Competition are proud to present the CSAW’18 Policy Competition. CSAW is the largest student-run cyber security event in the world, featuring international competitions, workshops, and industry events. This year, the Policy Case Competition Committee has joined CSAW to develop this competition. Students from various educational backgrounds who are interested in the nexus of policy and emerging technology issues are invited to think critically about major cyber security policy issues affecting society, challenge the status quo, and impact the cyber industry by presenting their ideas to leaders within the field.

Qualification Round Eligibility & Rules
  1. Competitors must be students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in the United States or Canada as of September 14, 2018. Students are not required to be part of the same institution, program, or educational fields to participate. Interdisciplinary collaboration is encouraged.
  2. Teams of 2 to 4 students are permitted.
Qualification Round Requirements

The qualification round of the competition has three components: team registration, a policy paper, and a video. The paper and the video hold a certain amount of weight in each team’s total score. All teams have the potential to earn a total of 80 points. The top five (5) teams with the highest overall scores will be selected to participate in the final round competition.

Team Registration: 0 points, Deadline: September 10, 2018,  September 17, 11:59 ET 

The first step is for teams to fill out the Policy Competition Registration Form here:

Registration is free.

Once registered, teams will be provided with their “team number” to be included in their paper (see below).

Video: 30 points, Deadline: September 14, 2018   September 21, 2018, 11:59 ET

Each team must submit a 2 - 3 minute video presenting their proposed policy. This is a unique opportunity for teams to explain and present their policy to the Committee and potential judges prior to the final round. The video should not be a summary of the policy paper, but should complement the team’s policy paper by providing an in-depth explanation of their vision for the policy and important information they would like to highlight.

The purpose of this component is to demonstrate the team’s presentation skills, professionalism, and ability to explain a complicated issue in a simplified and direct manner. Please present your policy as if you are addressing your intended audience (i.e. Secretary of State, President of South Korea, etc.).

Download the video grading rubric here.

Please note: Your video may be given to the final round judges prior to presentations.

How to submit your video:

Videos should be uploaded to YouTube with privacy settings set to “Private.” Please share the link with .

For instructions on uploading videos to YouTube, please visit:

Policy Paper: 50 points, Deadline: September 25, 2018, 11:59 ET

Each team must submit a paper, 1,500 - 3,000 words (not including citations), double-spaced with 12-pt Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins, and in a PDF format.

Well prepared and argued policy papers should include at least 7 or more references to support the team's argument. Citations should be MLA format. 

All submissions should be titled as: TeamNumber_Topic_CSAW_Paper_Submission and emailed to

Cyber Security Policy Topics

Policy papers must focus on cybersecurity aspects of ONE of the following topics:

  1. BitCoin/Cryptocurrencies
  2. Big Data
  3. Artificial Intelligence
  4. Information Sharing
  5. Data Security/Breaches
  6. Encryption and Law Enforcement Investigations

These topics are intentionally generalized. Competitors have the freedom to choose the policy question and specific aspect of the overall topic they would like to address in each category. The CSAW Committee can provide guidance as to what policy questions to consider, but policy proposals can discuss any specific aspect of the broader topic, as determined by the team. 

All papers should address the following points:

  • Selected topic
  • Brief background of the specific issue at hand. (Please note that teams must address a particular aspect of a topic. Teams have the freedom to decide which aspect they’d like to focus on.)
  • Audience this proposal is directed to
  • Proposed policy solution
  • Potential setbacks you anticipate with your policy
  • Funding information
  • Political feasibility
  • Institutional support
  • Legal analysis (if applicable)
  • Business analysis (if applicable)

Download the paper grading rubric here.

Here is a useful policy memo/paper writing guide:

Final Round Notification

Teams will be notified as to whether they have advanced to the the final round by October 5, 2018 via email.

Those teams moving on to Finals will receive feedback from the Committee on how to improve their policy proposals for finals and recommendations for final presentations. This feedback should be incorporated into an updated policy paper and considered when preparing the final presentation. See “Final Round Requirements” for further details.

Final Round Overview

Two (2) members from each team will receive a Travel Award to CSAW to present their policy proposals to a panel of judges at NYU Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn, New York. Team members will be required to verify their enrollment before officially receiving a Travel Award.

For teams with more than 2 people, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your school’s department and request financial support for your entire team to present in-person at CSAW Finals. The Policy Committee can issue a formal letter indicating your participation in the competition and acceptance into the final round. For more information, please contact the Committee at

Final Round Dates & Location

November 8 - 10, 2018

NYU Tandon School of Engineering

6 MetroTech Center

Brooklyn, NY 11201

Travel arrangements will be coordinated by NYU’s travel agency. For planning purposes, Finalists should plan to arrive to NYU Tandon on Thursday, November 8. Presentations will take place on Friday, November 9 and an Award Ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 10.

Final Round Requirements

The Final Round has two required components, both with a submission deadline of November 5, 2018. All submissions should be titled as: TeamNumber_Topic_CSAW_Final_Submission and emailed to

Updated Final Policy Paper

After the first round, teams will receive feedback from the Committee regarding their policy proposal. All teams must submit the final version of their policy paper by November 5. This document will be given to all judges prior to the final round. No extensions will be given.

Final Presentations

Teams are not required to use a presentation deck (e.g. PowerPoint), but for those teams who wish to complement their presentation with visual aids, etc., presentation decks must be emailed to the Committee in advance, by November 5. No extensions will be given.

Each team will have 25 minutes for their presentation followed by 5 minutes of questions from a panel of judges.

After the initial 10 minutes of the team’s presentation, judges will be allowed to interrupt the presentations to ask questions.

Presentations are open to the public.

Teams will be assessed by the judges panel following a general grading guidelines provided by the Committee. These guidelines will be presented to teams when finalists are announced.

The top three teams will be announced at the Award Ceremony.

The Committee will host a webinar as the competition date approaches to discuss the details of the final round. Date and time are TBD.

Travel Awards & Prizes

Two (2) Travel Awards to be presented to each team advancing to Finals. The Travel Award includes transportation via train, plane, or bus to New York City, hotel room, and most meals. Students will be informed of all specific costs covered when they are invited to finals.

Prizes will be award as followed (to be distributed in late November 2018):

  • First Place Team: $1,000
  • Second Place: $750
  • Third Place: $500
Mailing List 

CSAW US-Canada Policy registrants will be automatically added to the CSAW mailing list. This list is used to provide occasional updates on CSAW and to promote cybersecurity related events being organized by CSAW regional partner schools. CSAW will not rent, sell, or share emails with non-partner schools or other entities or organizations.

Registrants can opt-out of the mailing list at anytime.

Contact the Policy Competition Committee

Please direct your inquiries to