Obama administration must work hand in hand with industry to ensure cybersecurity, Baker Institute expert says

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David Ruth
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Jeff Falk
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Obama administration must work hand in hand with industry to ensure cybersecurity, Baker Institute expert says
Bronk: Economic prosperity of the US is linked to its capacity to protect intellectual property theft by cyber means

HOUSTON – (March 13, 2013) – President Obama’s meeting today with U.S. business leaders to discuss cybersecurity comes soon after reports that Obama’s own family, including First Lady Michelle Obama, has been hit by cyber hacking. With cybersecurity a top national concern, the administration must develop deeper collaborations with industry in the protection of key intellectual property and systems against efforts to steal data via cyber means, according to a cybersecurity expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Christopher Bronk, a fellow in information technology policy at the Baker Institute and a former U.S. State Department diplomat who specializes in cybersecurity issues, outlines his recommendations in “Information Technology Policy: Action Items for the Next Four Years,” part of a recent, wide-ranging Baker Institute report prepared for President Barack Obama’s second term, “2013 Policy Recommendations for the Obama Administration.”

“The economic prosperity of the United States is linked to its capacity to protect intellectual property theft by cyber means,” Bronk said. “Foreign intelligence services and companies are able to utilize cyberspace and the digitally interconnected topography of the contemporary global corporation to gain access to sensitive communications, documentation, and research and development (R&D) products. The target of industrial espionage is not only the CEO or the administrative assistant, but also their smartphones and email accounts.”

Bronk said the simple answer to this problem is that U.S. firms need to think much more comprehensively in their cyber counterintelligence capabilities. “Beyond developing their own intrinsic capacity to thwart cyberespionage, countermeasures need to become far more of a team effort, and not one solely aimed at producing technological countermeasures,” he said. “The administration, through its national counterintelligence mandate, must develop deeper collaborations with industry in the protection of key intellectual property and systems against efforts to steal data via cyber means. This will require the sharing of intelligence, dedication of R&D resources and protection of corporate data from public disclosure.”

Bronk’s policy recommendations can be read on page 23 of the report, available online at http://www.bakerinstitute.org/publications/BI-pub-PolicyRecommendations-021313.pdf.

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Bronk. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

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Related materials:

Bronk biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/cbronk.

Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog

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