REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 8, 2000 — The government’s top cyber-security overseer today called for the creation of a powerful new government post to create and enforce standards for online information.
Richard Clarke, head of counterterrorism and infrastructure for the National Security Council, recommended the creation of a chief security officer to replace the myriad of officers who now oversee government security of cyberspace.
Richard Clarke, head of counterterrorism and infrastructure for the National Security Council, told privacy and security leaders today at SafeNet 2000 that the next U.S. president should create a chief security officer with budgetary authority to replace the myriad of officers who now oversee government security of cyberspace.
Clarke also urged for the creation of a “safe zone” on the Internet for critical government and other services and for security and privacy advocates to concentrate most of their efforts on emerging technologies rather than the current models.
The U.S. Congress has spread cyber-security and cyber-privacy issues over three dozen committees and subcommittees.
“Only Houdini could deal effectively with that,”
“The federal government, in my personal opinion, needs someone truly in charge of cyber security and with some power and budgetary clout, a chief information infrastructure officer.”
To increase the pool of trained security experts within government, he announced a new federal training program, created by President Clinton, that will provide information technology students as much as $25,000 for college if they pledge to work a year in government for each year they receive tuition aid.
Clarke also presented what he expected would be a more controversial proposal: a bifurcation of cyberspace. On one side, users could maintain their current anonymity. On the other, all information would be scanned for computer viruses before entering.
“Today, Virtual Private Networks carry your data through routers and switches and over lines that are often not secure,”
“The routing on a VPN and the ownership of the lines and switches through which it passes can change all day long depending on the broadband marketplace.”
He proposes that government and industry jointly study the creation of a secure zone for critical infrastructure, where messages could travel on fiber and switches exclusively serving authenticated messages. Before entering the zone, all information would be scanned for viruses. He compared the safeguards to X-ray scans people must permit on their luggage in order to fly on airplanes.
“Such scanning can, I believe, be designed consistent with the highest standards of protection of privacy rights,”
Clarke predicted technologies that converged computing and communication systems and devices will replace the current divergent technologies by 2004. Within a few more years, optical links will merge the many current forms of communication networks, he said.
He said the government should extend current trespass, stalking and peeping Tom laws into cyberspace and increase efforts to protect the proprietary data of businesses. But, he stressed, creating cyber security should not be strictly a law enforcement task.
“is at heart an issue of design, technology and policy”