The US General Accounting Office has released a new report which provides an overview of US government involvement and the challenges it faces in global Internet security and policy. Submitted to Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York and Senator Kirstin Gillibrand of New York, the report is intended to inform debate over the proposed law S. 1438: Fostering a Global Response to Cyber Attacks Act, which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations in July.

Cataloging the breadth and scope of departmental and agency efforts to engage in multiple issues and institutions (including identifying ICANN, IGF, IETF among others as important), it paints a picture of a government struggling to identify a cohesive strategic approach to Internet governance.

Particularly interesting are:

– A conclusion stating an almost critical need to increase coordination among agencies in response to global security incidents, yet “several agencies stated a single authoritative…response organization would not be appropriate” (36) The USG obviously hasn't completely come to grips with the paradox of distributed governance in a global network.

– A recognition that mandatory standards to improve the security of USG systems may risk creating cybersecurity-related trade barriers. (35) A poster child for this issue going forward is the mandating of DNSSEC and potentially securing Internet routing, and the response it engenders from other parts of the world, e.g., pressure to integrate competing crypto algorithms.

– The recognition of the importance of defining norms (38), although the report fails to identify basic human rights (privacy, freedom of expression), multi-stakeholder participation, or institutional accountability as the emerging predominant frames in fora like the IGF and ICANN – instead focusing on discussion about the appropriateness of “use of force” in response to cyber attacks.

10 thoughts on “Challenges facing the US in global cybersecurity and governance

  1. “the challenges it faces in global Internet security and policy”
    One of the biggest challenges the .USA faces is that other countries want to change the .US Internet to be like THEIR Internet.
    Castro, Chavez, etc. find willing allies in the Multi-Stakeholder LibTard groupies that dominate ICANN.

  2. “the net as we know it is done.”
    Yes, Frank – Consumers never reach your Parked PPCs

  3. .ORG is really behind .XXX – they are the “back-end” Registry
    Where are all the .ORG people with their .XXX endorsements ?
    Hal Lubsen ?
    Lynn St. Amour ?
    Vinton Cerf ?
    ICANN Director – Rita Rodin ?
    Kathy Kleinman ?

  4. You really can not make this stuff up. Over on CircleID “they” are worried about their precious ICANN becoming “distorted” by money.
    Poor ICANN – needs such special care. 🙁
    Agree R. Shawn Gunnarson – Aug 06, 2010 8:01 AM PDT
    I'm glad to hear we agree about something, Kieren. Large sums of money can distort an organization

  5. “Large sums of money can distort an organization”
    Like the ISOC ? when it went from the cliffs of bankruptcy and 6 people? to dozens of million dollar salaries ?
    Nope, no distortion there.

  6. ICANN VI Cartel discussions are of course illegal for U.S. Citizens.
    That handicaps U.S. players.

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