Securing Our Digital Future
Melissa Hathaway, Cybersecurity Chief at the National Security Council, discusses securing our nation's digital future:
The globally-interconnected digital information and communications infrastructure known as cyberspace underpins almost every facet of modern society and provides critical support for the U.S. economy, civil infrastructure, public safety and national security. The United States is one of the global leaders on embedding technology into our daily lives and this technology adoption has transformed the global economy and connected people in ways never imagined. My boys are 8 and 9 and use the Internet daily to do homework, blog with their friends and teacher, and email their mom; it is second nature to them. My mom and dad can read the newspapers about their daughter on-line and can reach me anywhere in the world from their cell phone to mine. And people all over the world can post and watch videos and read our blogs within minutes of completion. I can’t imagine my world without this connectivity and I would bet that you cannot either. Now consider that the same networks that provide this connectively also increasingly help control our critical infrastructure. These networks deliver power and water to our households and businesses, they enable us to access our bank accounts from almost any city in the world, and they are transforming the way our doctors provide healthcare. For all of these reasons, we need a safe Internet with a strong network infrastructure and we as a nation need to take prompt action to protect cyberspace for what we use it for today and will need in the future.
Protecting cyberspace requires strong vision and leadership and will require changes in policy, technology, education, and perhaps law. The 60-day cyberspace policy review summarizes our conclusions and outlines the beginning of a way forward in building a reliable, resilient, trustworthy digital infrastructure for the future. There are opportunities for everyone—individuals, academia, industry, and governments—to contribute toward this vision. During the review we engaged in more than 40 meetings and received and read more than 100 papers that informed our recommendations. As you will see in our review there is a lot of work for us to do together and an ambitious action plan to accomplish our goals. It must begin with a national dialogue on cybersecurity and we should start with our family, friends, and colleagues.
We are late in addressing this critical national need and our response must be focused, aggressive, and well-resourced. We have garnered great momentum in the last few months, and the vision developed in our review is based on the important input we received from industry, academia, the civil liberties and privacy communities, others in the Executive Branch, State governments, Congress, and our international partners. We now have a strong and common view of what is needed to achieve change. Ensuring that cyberspace is sufficiently resilient and trustworthy to support U.S. goals of economic growth, civil liberties and privacy protections, national security, and the continued advancement of democratic institutions requires making cybersecurity a national priority.