Saturday, January 30, 2010

Senator Collins- World Economic Forum in Davos

Senator Collins is blogging from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

This year was the first time I was invited to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos. I am speaking as a panelist during three different sessions and have just finished the first one, "Securing Cyberspace." It was interesting being the one political leader on a panel of technical experts, including Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, Paul Sagan, who runs Akamai Technologies, an MIT spin-off, Hamadoun Toure, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva, and Andre Kydelski, the CEO of a Swiss computer security firm. The panel was moderated by Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard Law professor whose expertise is cybersecurity.
We discussed issues ranging from the problem of determining who is really behind a computer attack (the "attribution" problem) to whether an attack on a nation's electric grid would constitute an act of war. We discussed possible legislative and international responses to strengthen cybersecurity.

Microsoft's Craig Mundie emphasized personal responsibility and said that 20 percent of PCs have no security, which allows them to be hijacked and used in attacks on other computers. He advocated that people be "licensed" to operate computers just as we are licensed to drive cars.

The two European panelists advocated greater international cooperation building on the European Convention on CyberCrime.

In the audience was a former U.S. Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, who asked me about the possibility of the Senate passing an international treaty on cybersecurity, if one were to be drafted, or absent that, a cybersecurity bill for the U.S. Our Homeland Security Committee is working on such legislation, but there are many obstacles to overcome.

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