President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 20, was expected to include a strong focus on explaining measures to protect Americans from cybercrime. However, the president devoted relatively little of the speech to the issue of cybersecurity.
“No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” Obama said. “We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyberthreats, just as we have done to combat terrorism.”
Obama urged Congress to pass “the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyberattacks, 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.”
Obama had previously made announcements that showed the federal government is concerned about the increase in high-profile data breaches against U.S. interests, including the recent Sony Pictures Entertainment breach.
For example, on Jan. 13, the administration announced a new legislative proposal that calls for better cybersecurity information-sharing between the private sector and the government. It also calls for collaboration and information-sharing within the private sector. Specifically, the proposal encourages the private sector to share appropriate cyberthreat information with the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which would then share this with relevant federal agencies.
A Jan. 14 White House Blog post covered a number of federal government efforts to bolster cybersecurity, such as $25 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop cybersecurity education programs at post-secondary institutions.
However, none of these initiatives were covered in detail in the State of the Union address.
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