Why Genachowski’s Cybersecurity Initiative Is So Radical (In A Good Way)

Author: Harold Feld
Coverage Type: analysis
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new cybersecurity initiative is so important and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s speech is such a radical and welcome addition to the cybersecurity discussion.

The approach outlined by Chairman Genachowski, if followed, promises to address three key security weaknesses in the Internet in a way that actually works with the underlying principles that have made the Internet such a widespread success for everyone from the most unsophisticated end user to the most sophisticated tech giant: voluntary consensus, openness, and ease of use. By leveraging the strengths of the network to help overcome the vulnerabilities of the network, the FCC can do a lot to improve cybersecurity while simultaneously fulfilling its statutory mandates to protect consumers and promote broadband adoption and use. Chairman Genachowski radically departs from the usual Cybersecurity Establishment.

Here’s the money quote:
“It’s important to pause and note the relationship between the Internet’s success and these new threats. The potential harm of cyber attacks is so great because the Internet has become such a key platform for innovation, economic growth, and opportunity — delivering more and more value to people everywhere, every day.

So as stakeholders address the challenge of cybersecurity, it’s vital that we preserve the ingredients that have and will fuel the Internet’s growth and success. Specifically, it’s critical that we preserve Internet freedom and the open architecture of the Internet, which have been essential to the Internet’s success as an engine of innovation and economic growth.
Preserving the openness of the Internet is not a concern to be balanced with security risks, it is a guiding principle to be honored as we seek to address security challenges.

Privacy is a similarly important principle. There are some who suggest that we should compromise privacy to enhance online security. This too is a false choice. Privacy and security are complementary – both are essential to consumer confidence and adoption of broadband. We can and must improve online security while protecting individuals’ privacy.”

National Broadband Plan

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