from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

New Report: Rebuilding Trust Between Silicon Valley and Washington

January 25, 2017

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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It would be an understatement to say that the United States faces cybersecurity risks that threaten its economic, political and strategic interests. Despite the Obama administration’s best efforts (and there were many), the United States still faces considerable cyber policy challenges. Data localization policies test the business models of U.S. tech companies and limit the free flow of data necessary to the growth of digital trade. State-sponsored actors continue to target U.S. companies to pilfer proprietary data or trade secrets and the U.S. government for intelligence purposes. The issue of encryption continues to divide the U.S. tech community and law enforcement, a debate that has ripple effects worldwide.

The Trump administration will have to confront these challenges, made worse by the deep mistrust between the U.S. government and the technology community. This divide began in 2013, when former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed U.S. intelligence programs, and has grown worse over the years.

In Rebuilding Trust Between Silicon Valley and Washington, I argue that a continuation of current policy will not match the growing sophistication of cyber threats. Bridging the divide between Washington and Silicon Valley is critical to ensuring that the United States can develop new, innovative approaches to meeting the cyber challenge. I outline a pragmatic approach that can lead to a rapprochement between both coasts, such as more frequently attributing state-sponsored cyberattacks and educating law enforcement about solutions that can sidestep encryption roadblocks.

The report and its recommendations are informed by a year-long advisory process, chaired by Craig Mundie, former advisor to the CEO of Microsoft and chief research and strategy officer, and included input from industry leaders and top policymakers from the Bay area and Washington, DC.

The full report is available here.

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Cybersecurity

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