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The State of the Union: Time to Dig In

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by: David Hoffman, Intel Director of Security Policy and Global Privacy Officer

In last night’s State of the Union, President Obama called for greater investment in infrastructure projects.   This work often refers to “shovel ready” projects. In my view the most “shovel ready” work currently existing is for Congress to “dig in” to pass bi-partisan cybersecurity and privacy legislation.

The President made several mentions of the internet, privacy and cybersecurity in his address. He clearly understands that the internet is not just an innovation, but is a platform for innovation. He said he intends to “help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.” President Obama called for investment for a faster, free and open internet. The President wants to extend the internet to every classroom, and increase research and development in the treatment of illness.   All of these efforts will rely on the innovative and ethical use of data. To better enable this use of data, we need better cybersecurity and privacy protections.

During the past week, President Obama has referenced proposals for cybersecurity legislation, comprehensive privacy legislation, student privacy protections and national standards for data breach notification.   Intel Senior Vice President, Chris Young, recently published a blog calling out how important it is to focus on these proposals.

In the address, President Obama urged “Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information. If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.”

Data Privacy Day is next week (January 28th) and presents Congress with a great opportunity to recognize the event by beginning work on these ideas.  Intel will be using the day to publish more of our thoughts on how we need to Rethink Privacy to implement protections for individuals.  There are a myriad of difficult issues that will need to be resolved within each of these proposals. These topics can be bi-partisan efforts, if the Administration, Congress, civil society, and industry come together to agree on legislative language to move forward trust in the participation of the digital economy.   That is why it is important for us all to “dig in”.