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White House unveils global ‘open and secure’ cyberspace policies

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, May 16, 2011 19:15 EDT
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WASHINGTON — The White House unveiled a set of policy proposals Monday for international cooperation in ensuring an open and secure Internet.

“Together, we can work together to build a future for cyberspace that is open, interoperable, secure, and reliable,” US President Barack Obama said in an introduction to the 25-page “International Strategy for Cyberspace.”

Obama said the document “outlines not only a vision for the future of cyberspace but an agenda for realizing it.”

“It provides the context for our partners at home and abroad to understand our priorities and how we can come together to preserve the character of cyberspace and reduce the threats we face,” he said.

The policy document is short on specifics but provides goals and a framework for international cooperation in promoting the US vision for cyberspace.

Obama did not personally attend the unveiling of the document but the event drew several members of his cabinet including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt and Obama’s counter-terrorism coordinator, John Brennan, also addressed the gathering, which included foreign diplomats and leaders of private industry.

Schmidt said the document explains “what the US stands for internationally in cyberspace, and how we plan to build prosperity, enhance security, and safeguard openness in our increasingly networked world.”

The document calls for strengthened diplomatic partnerships in which states and others who recognize the “intrinsic value of an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable cyberspace” work together.

“Through our international relationships and affiliations, we will seek to ensure that as many stakeholders as possible are included in this vision of cyberspace precisely because of its economic, social, political, and security benefits,” the White House said in a fact-sheet.

The White House called for increased cooporation among law enforcement agencies worldwide in fighting cybercrime and promised a robust response to “those who would seek to disrupt networks and systems.”

“When warranted, the United States will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country,” it said.

“We reserve the right to use all necessary means — diplomatic, informational, military, and economic — as appropriate and consistent with applicable international law, in order to defend our nation, our allies, our partners, and our interests,” it added.

Dean Garfield, president and chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Council, welcomed the White House initiative.

“A growing number of governments worldwide are enacting cybersecurity-related laws, regulations, and other requirements that are inconsistent with generally accepted norms and standards,” Garfield said.

“This growing policy patchwork not only results in decreased security for nations, but also disrupts global commerce and ignores the borderless nature of the Internet,” he said.

“To date, the international community has lacked the collective willingness to engage in a meaningful conversation on the need for a global approach,” he said. “US leadership is critical to reaching a consensus solution.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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