These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.
I posted the responses to the first question (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.
The responses to the second question (concerning research) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.
The responses to the third question (concerning climate change) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.
The responses to the fourth question (concerning biodiversity) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.
I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts. My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.
- The Internet
The Internet has become a foundation of economic, social, law enforcement, and military activity. What steps will you take to protect vulnerable infrastructure and institutions from cyberattack, and to provide for national security while protecting personal privacy on electronic devices and the internet?
Hillary Clinton (D)
As President, I will fight to ensure that the Internet remains a space for free exchange, providing all people equal access to knowledge and ideas. While we must protect this exchange and the privacy of individuals, we must also invest in cybersecurity, which is not only essential to our national and economic security, but will become increasingly important as devices across sectors are networked.
Since my time in the Senate, I have worked across the aisle to improve our nation’s cyber-security. Internet freedom and security were at the forefront of my work as Secretary of State, and we must ensure this effort continues into the next administration. I supported the USA Freedom Act enacted in 2015. I also support the bipartisan effort led by Sen. Warner and Rep. McCaul, to create a national commission on digital security and encryption to help show the way forward.
This is an issue that spans both the public and private sector. I will build on the Obama Administration’s Cyber-security National Action Plan, modernizing our government-wide cyber-security and federal IT and empowering a federal Chief Information Security Officer. I also support public-private collaboration on cyber-security innovation, along with implementing the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cyber-security Framework. The next President will be confronted with these challenges, and will need common sense approaches to balance cyber-security with personal privacy. The next president must be able to thoughtfully address these nuanced issues.
As president I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses and we will invest in protecting our governmental networks and national infrastructure. I believe the United States should lead the world in setting the rules of cyberspace. If America doesn’t, others will.
Donald Trump (R)
The United States government should not spy on its own citizens. That will not happen in a Trump administration. As for protecting the Internet, any attack on the Internet should be considered a provocative act that requires the utmost in protection and, at a minimum, a proportional response that identifies and then eliminates threats to our Internet infrastructure.
Jill Stein (G)
The Internet and the access to information it provides is an extremely important resource for the entire world. Here is how we will protect and improve the Internet:
- Protect the free Internet. Oppose the Online Piracy Act and all other legislation that would undermine freedom and equality on the Internet.
- Vigorously defend net neutrality.
- Support public broadband Internet.
- Negotiate international treaty banning cyber-warfare; create a new UN agency tasked with identifying the sources of cyberattacks.
These were the shortest answers to date. Trump’s answer was very much a Trump answer. His first sentence has nothing to do with the Internet, per se, and his statement that a provocative act requires a proportional response is as bombastic as much of his campaign rhetoric. And has been the case, he doesn’t answer the question.
Clinton’s answer begins with the realization the Internet can have a dramatic impact on the economy and innovation. But she doesn’t do more with that thought. Stein recognizes the need for net neutrality and she recognized that Internet access is quickly become an equality issue (something that neither Clinton nor Trump discussed). There is a need to ensure that everyone has access to some sort of public broadband and not be burdened by excessive access fees. However, her last point (about treaties banning cyber-warfare and creating a UN task force) misses the point. Treaties have never banned warfare and we already have groups capable of identifying the source of cyberattacks.
Granted the question was phrased in terms of security but seeing the Internet only in terms of security misses the point. I am not discounting the need for cyber-security but seeing the Internet only in terms of national security misses the point. Right now, we are using the Internet in ways that could not have been imagined even ten years ago and we need to make sure that we are developing individuals who can keep that advancement going. It should be noted that there is quite of bit of our country’s infrastructure which can be remotely accessed; this is a problem that was not addressed by any of the candidates.
This will require an extensive educational effort but one benefit of this is producing individuals who are ahead of the curve when it comes to defending against malicious code. Right now, we only have the ability to respond to an attack and we need to be able to predict such attacks or at least determine areas that need to be protected.