DNI: Public trust important for cybersecurity
Top intell official says public must be convinced civil liberties are protected
The government must convince people that it can bolster
cybersecurity and protect civil liberties, the country’s top
intelligence official has said.
Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, said June 8
that the reality of intertwining public, private and government
networks has meant increased collaboration with companies to protect
the common structure used by agencies and the private sector. However,
Blair also acknowledged “a deep suspicion” that many people have about
the government, particularly intelligence agencies, being involved in
Blair's remark's came in a speech at a dinner in Washington
hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, a
professional organization with members from both government and
“I think that’s going to be a big job in the future,” Blair
said. “The president announced the results of a 60-day review, pointed
at the importance of striking this balance, and now is the hard part of
working out the details.”
President Barack Obama on May 29 announced the results of the administration’s 60-day review of
cybersecurity policy. He said his administration’s new approach to
cybersecurity would focus on protecting privacy and civil liberties.
“Our pursuit of cybersecurity will not include – I repeat will
not include – monitoring private-sector networks or Internet traffic,”
Obama said. Obama also said he was creating a new White House office to
deal with cybersecurity that would include a person in charge of
ensuring the privacy and civil liberties are protected.
However, Obama’s speech and the report on cybersecurity policy
didn’t specifically deal was what role, if any, the National Security
Agency would play in protecting civilian cyber networks.
“We spend a great deal of money making the National Security
Agency the premier cyber expert group in government," Blair said. "We should be able
to use them to the best possible benefit for Americans using their tax
dollars, but we need to do it in a way that does not cause problems and
give people even the impression that we are spying on them."
Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.