Imagine that twenty years after Johannes Gutenberg invented mechanical movable type, the Pope and the petty princes – in fact, anyone who tried hard enough – had the ability to determine exactly who was printing exactly what. Worrying about intellectual property theft, privacy or civil rights violations, had those concepts existed, would be missing the point.
The future of Europe, the future of humanity, would have been profoundly changed, not just for five years but five hundred. If people lost trust in the underlying communication medium, could there even have been a Renaissance or Enlightenment?
Unfortunately, the world is facing this dilemma today as it is possible, even likely, the Internet will not remain as resilient, free, secure, and as awesome, for future generations as it has been for ours. It is under grave threat from data breaches, theft of commercial secrets, the opportunity for widespread disruptive attacks and systemic failures, erection of sovereign borders, and mass surveillance.
The only truly goal for this new cyber strategy should be to give the defenders the high-ground advantage over attackers. This is just imaginable with a clever push for new technology, policy, and practice which is applied patiently, internationally, at scale, and with the private sector at the fore.
Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative, part of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, spoke on these themes at DEF CON and BlackHat, two major cybersecurity and hacker conferences in Las Vegas. Jason was the first former White House cybersecurity director to serve on the review board for applicants. His DEF CON address was to a near capacity crowd with over 2000 people in attendance. Both addresses received widespread media coverage including articles published in Italian and German in addition to two podcast and a radio interview for In Depth with Francis Rose on Federal News Radio.
Watch the Black Hat talk here
The two addresses are part of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative’s wider effort on developing a strategy for Saving Cyberspace.