Obama Calls for Intelligence Information Sharing across Public and Private Sectors

The Whitehouse

The White House hosted a Summit meeting held at Stanford University in the Silicon Valley on Friday, February 13, 2015. President Obama addressed America's increasing cyber-security issues and called for a major collaboration between the private sector and public sector.

"Security breaches are on the rise, incidents soared to a total of 42.8 million in 2014, a 48% leap over the year before. This increase comes at great cost with total financial losses attributed to security compromises that increased 34% over 2013," PWC

Government officials, privacy experts, and CEO's of major corporations like Apple, QVC, and PG&E, outlined their plans of attack and action at the meeting. Obama and his staff are emphasizing the massive importance of information and business intelligence sharing between both the private and public sector.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, "some 7% of U.S. companies lost $1 million or more last year." From the Department of Energy, Oil and Gas Sector, Transportation Sector, to Healthcare providers, and Tech companies, they're looking for an approach that reaches not just vertically, but horizontally as well and calling on everyone to work together to reach the common goal of more cyber-security. 

Government officials recognize that these dynamic threats can't be addressed with traditional methods, and that systems riddled with regulations will just slow them down. It's more about dealing with issues in real-time, sharing information between sectors and industries that actually have a chance to stop cyber attacks and threats in their tracks. "The Internet is a major engine of economic growth in the United States, one that supports millions of jobs," Obama said. "But the growing tide of cybercrime, cyberterrorism and online theft threatens that engine."

They also realize that information sharing is controversial and must be done responsibly. And that's where many critics fear that giving the government too much access will trump industry growth and innovation. "Lawmakers say the steps merely lay the 'foundation' for a long-term fight against hackers, and analysts argue that the federal government has moved too slowly in addressing 21st-century threats," according to Washington Times. However, it's likely that without information sharing in real-time, major organizations will stand little chance of warding off cyber attacks. Many people also believe that the sense of tension between privacy and security are just two sides of the same coin, and that the tension is false. 

They are urging public to public, private to public, and private to private sharing to happen, and have set up secure information hubs to make it possible. Dr. Sherwood-Randall of The Department of Energy was one of the attendees that spoke in support of Obama's plans, "Our world, and energy grids have become digitized there are a huge amount of new vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities like industrial control systems that allow them to open and close fuel pumps remotely, and control temperature sensors, gas lines and valves. They also recognize it's not practical to produce their own software, or to effectively audit the software they currently use, and are thus at a risk in their supply chain."

The leaders at the White House Summit also recognized that cyber crimes have become so common place due to some simple issues as well. Issues like training, understanding, and human error. Something as simple as a password written on a post-it note, not backing up data, all the way to opening the wrong email. They realize it ranges from the personal up to the business level. It's very important for companies to start taking the same security measures they would for other aspects of their business to their cyber-security.

Many companies are insuring their data through insurance companies, and providing proper online security training for their employees. Insurance company leaders think the reason most people and/or businesses have yet to take necessary steps of precaution is not out of complacency, but rather because they are unaware of the magnitude and severity of these cyber crimes.

The Cyber-Security Summit meeting at Stanford is an effort to pool ideas and plans from the brilliant minds of the industry and the leading professionals, but also a way to spread a new level of awareness as to how real these threats and issues are. The government is calling for a massive change, and asking industries to work together from inside and outside of their sectors, and all across the board. The government realizes this isn't just a simple matter, yet it's a matter of our homeland security, national security, and national healthcare systems.

Photo via Flickr

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