Where the Target Hacking Scandal helped usher in 2014 on the heels of a year dominated by the Edward Snowden NSA Revelations, which demonstrated a thorough abuse of information technology and the World Web Wide by the US National Security, 2015 begins with the Sony hacking continuing to resonate throughout the headlines.
That said, 2014 was also defined by renewed cooperation among Western nations in their efforts to defend Ukraine again Russian dominance as well as unprecedented cooperation among Arab States to address the Islamic State threat.
Because the 1990’s were defined by peace and stability that allowed the International Community to focus on economic development while terrorism was considered the most significant national security threat in the 2000’s, the economy grew to be thoroughly reliant on the internet despite inherent security flaws.
Although the internet was born out of defense spending, those who helped create the World Wide Web were so idealistic about the nature of information technology that the internet was never designed to be secure, e.g. the Heart Bleed Bug.
While some leaders have pushed for greater government oversight and regulation of the internet in the US, pushback has largely taken any real action off the table. After all, issues like the need for “net neutrality” resonate well in a free society that only takes action when something goes terribly wrong.
Over the past few years, cyber security has grown to be a major concern. In response, government and private entities have done a great deal to help address internet security threats. Unfortunately, it is clearly not enough to rely on businesses to self-regulate and provide for their own cyber security while government needs to defend itself and its population as well.
Proper structure is needed to promote stability and growth, yet the internet lacks structure where it needs it. Any country (community) lacking a strong “constitutional” structure, where freedoms and rights are broadly defined alongside limits for authorities and the structure of governance (law), has been corrupted, has resulted in the abuse of residents (users), and ultimately failed, whether that nation was an authoritarian regime or a democratic republic.
Regrettably, there is no balance on the internet when it comes to regulation and freedom, which means the internet is unpoliced and lacks a “constitutional” structure to provide for the rights of individuals, businesses, governments, and other organizations. Not only must governments be restricted from what they can do with the internet and user data, they must also be given a well defined structure for addressing national interests when it comes to information technology.
Just as tech firms must resist the intrusion of government, government must regulate the activities of tech firms. Because the internet is the World Web Wide and relies on the policies of all governments, the International Community as a whole has a major role in determining how the internet is governed.
Consequently, the internet must have some form of regulation and protection offered by a consensus of world governments, if the internet is to remain free for all the Peoples of the world. The internet is the product of international cooperation, thus cyber security can only be properly addressed through international cooperation.
Unfortunately, emerging and persistent crises around the world make it more likely criminals, terrorists, and countries will seek to use the internet as a weapon. Ultimately, the Worldwide Web is the one place where the International Community as a whole might actually be able to build a governing structure with tangible power, if they develop their resources and laws properly.
As far more invasive, sophisticated attacks on the internet are formulated then launched, countries around the world, especially the United States, must be prepared to safeguard their networks by developing some rather intelligent solutions to this long neglected national and international security issue. Moreover, 2015 should defined by better government and greater cooperation on issues like cyber security.
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