Dave Nelson, CISSP, is president and CEO at Integrity.
The 2016 presidential election will have long-lasting implications for cybersecurity and information privacy. While Congress has its hands full debating adoption of or updates to legislation, such as updates to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the president will be influencing cybersecurity from other directions.
As commander in chief, the next president will provide significant direction to the Department of Defense and the national intelligence community in how to engage America’s enemies in cyberwarfare. Will America continue to develop a cyberwarfare capability within the Defense Department? What will the rules of engagement be during cyberattacks against information systems used by the U.S. military, government agencies or critical infrastructure providers? Should the U.S. unleash a fully offensive and pre-emptive cyber strike in an attempt to deter or prevent a war in the physical world? Are civilian cyber targets such as manufacturing, banking and critical infrastructure information systems fair game in order to attempt to prevent the need to send our troops into the field?
The next president will also name at least one new justice to the Supreme Court, possibly more. How will those justices view privacy in an electronic world? Will they work to limit the types of information that can be collected by the public and private sectors? Will they work to ensure the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is applied to the new digital world we live in? Will the U.S. finally begin to be a leader in the digital privacy fight instead of following in the footsteps of Europe, Canada and even to some degree Russia?
While answers to these questions may not be looming as large as how to address health care, Social Security, the economy or gun control, they are nonetheless critical to the future of this great republic. We are just now beginning to see how decisions we made just 10 to 15 years ago are impacting cybersecurity and privacy of individuals and organizations. With the speed of technology innovation and adoption by governments, corporations and individuals, we can no longer sit on the sidelines and “wait to see how things play out.” Significant discussions must be had and decisions made on how we, as the leaders of the free world, view information security and privacy. Elected officials at all levels, including the local city leaders and school boards, are impacting your digital world and that of future generations. So I encourage you to ask candidates questions on their stance on information security and use that information to help you decide who to cast a ballot for this November.