In an interview with The Daily Caller, American Enterprise Institute vice-president Danielle Pletka explained just what drives the need for cybersecurity legislation and just how far the government should go.
Her remarks followed US Cybersecurity chief General Keith Alexander’s comments on Monday about the need to take steps in order have better legislative provisions for security. His speech highlighted the “tremendous opportunities and tremendous vulnerabilities” with the current system, and the need for Congress to do something about it immediately.
Pletka offered a similarly stark assessment. “What I do have an idea about is the scope and severity of Chinese espionage. It is everywhere, it is constant,” she said.
Hackers, both from foreign governments or otherwise, that steal information and money from corporate websites represent “the greatest transfer of wealth in history,” Alexander said. The United States government is weighing how to both protect its economy and the civil rights and privacy of individuals.
Pletka said that it is possible for privacy and cybersecurity concerns to be met at the same time, “but it’s important to be sensible as we talk about it.”
“The biggest problem with all of this is, weirdly, a lack of information.” Pletka said. Because of government and industry’s reluctance to talk about security problems, there is a “conspiracy of silence, and because of that there’s really very little understanding about the problem or its solutions.”
For Pletka, Internet privacy advocacy like the Declaration of Internet Freedom only “do a really good job in fanning hysteria about Uncle Sam looking over your shoulder and watching as you surf porn.” She believes the government’s intent is to protect its businesses, especially from state-sponsored attacks.
But Pletka doesn’t think that the government is the only actor in this solution. “A lot of this is the responsibility of the private sector, and it always has been.” Pletka said.
As far as figuring out the role of government or corporations in cybersecurity, Pletka concludes, “I think there’s a lot that sensible people can agree upon.”
Videography by Sally Nelson and Zach Gorelick