Cyber Czar Is a Big Title for an Impossible Job

The Internet is important and we must protect it. That’s the gist behind the blog post laying out the reasons for creating the office of a national cybersecurity chief to oversee the security of our nation’s communications networks and electronic infrastructure. But securing the Internet for our national infrastructure and interests is like keeping water in a sieve — it’s an impossible task. Sure, there are precautions the czar can take, starting with some recommendations in the plan released by the current administration, but there’s no such thing as true security — in life or online.

So having established that, there appear to be four elements to the government’s plan:

  • The Czar: A person to manage and oversee all aspects of securing the web and making it resilient.
  • The Impossible Dream: A public-private partnership of business and national governments aimed at creating a framework for recognizing and dealing with a threat or problem.
  • The Conversation: A “dialogue” to convince people to give up privacy and civil liberties in exchange for greater security as well as education about how citizens can become more security conscious.
  • The Money: A commitment to invest in research, not just a commitment to research.

What does this mean? Teaching the average person how to secure their own computing infrastructure and to be more security conscious will help. R&D and government procurement of secure hardware and software could benefit technology companies of all sizes. But our national government will likely find itself at loggerheads on some issues with transnational companies. Figuring out how to police a pipe running through Kansas that’s owned by a Swedish company delivering information to a citizen in Russia is a hard problem to solve — and that’s assuming everyone with a stake in the web wants to solve it.