Representatives at Cybersecurity Negotiations Fail
The American government sent a representative to China to negotiate about online security who even had no idea what an ISP was. An ex-head of US homeland security Janet Napolitano also admitted: “Don’t laugh, but I just don’t use email at all.” Media reports explained that it wasn’t because of a fear of privacy or security: it was because she simply didn’t think it was useful.
Peter Singer, director of the Centre for 21st Century Security & Intelligence, pointed out that a supreme court justice also told him that he hasn’t got round to email yet, and this is someone who will get to vote on all issues from net neutrality to the NSA negotiations.
Another American official about to negotiate Internet security with China asked him to explain what “ISP” meant. Peter Singer compared it with going to negotiate with the Soviets and not knowing what ‘ICBM’ means. In addition, he admitted to have similar experiences with officials from the United Kingdom, China and Abu Dhabi.
Media report remind readers about the G20 conference, where diplomats were spearfished by an email “linking” to nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Many of them followed the link to download spyware onto their machines.
Singer adds that many online security threats and solutions are misrepresented or overblown. He said that power lines were taken down far more often by squirrels, but yet so far no squirrel had been taken out by a drone, or put on a no fly list. He believes that the US government response is often too reactionary – like the treatment of pirates and privateers in the age of sail, while investment in a public cyber health campaign could appear much more efficient.