It wasn’t all staged BBQ photo opportunities and ash cloud avoidance; the visit of US President Obama to the UK to meet Prime Minister David Cameron last week also took on the Internet – or ‘Cyberspace’ as the not-so-cool politicians like to call it.
The two leaders issued a fact sheet on ‘US and UK Cooperation on Cyberspace’, which they termed “a shared vision for cyberspace’s future”. According to the White House press department, it “reaffirmed their close bilateral cooperation, and charted important new steps forward, on an area of increasing attention: cyberspace issues, particularly cybersecurity”. In reality, it was a holding document that reminded everyone of the International Cyber Conference that will be held in London this coming November (although we challenge you to find the public website for this event…)
The US and UK are among 32 countries that are party to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.
The Convention sets standards for national laws in dealing with online fraud and abuse, and facilitates effective cooperation between nations. Both Obama and Cameron agreed to continue work to expand the reach of this treaty. The statement adds that:
“The US and UK are committed to partnering to help more countries benefit from information and communications technologies. Leaders’ will direct new and regular government-wide consultations, sharing strategies and plans to more effectively deploy resources in building technological capacity in the developing world.”
Meanwhile, back in DC… the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet held a meeting to discuss President Obama’s Cyberspace Policy Review.
The Broadband Breakfast website reports that subcommittee members expressed scepticism at the panel’s inability to give specific answers to several important questions, such as defining terms like ‘critical infrastructure’ and ‘critical information infrastructure.’ Neither was it clear to members which agency in the Executive Branch had final authority if the newly proposed measures were made into law.
“We have three government agencies testifying, but who’s really in charge of this?” asked Rep. Mel Watt. “Who’s running the show?”
According to the report, the proposed measures would help keep consumers informed of what happens with their data in the case of a software system security breach. However, Mel Watt expressed concerns that the proposal might allow government encroachment on personal privacy if corporate software systems that contain personal data were compromised.
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