White House asks private sector to help stop hackers

Global Business

US President Barack Obama signs an executive order promoting private sector cybersecurity information sharing after speaking at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California on February 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM

Putting a serious focus on hacking, U.S. President Barack Obama led the White House’s first summit on Cyber-security and Consumer Protection in arguably the epicenter of online activity, Silicon Valley in California. CCTV America’s Mark Niu reported from Stanford University with the latest on Obama’s plans to take on what many governments are calling the next front in global security.

White House asks private sector to help stop hackers

Putting a serious focus on hacking, U.S. President Barack Obama led the White House's first summit on Cyber-security and Consumer Protection in arguably the epicenter of online activity, Silicon Valley in California. CCTV America's Mark Niu reported from Stanford University with the latest on Obama's plans to take on what many governments are calling the next front in global security.

The summit wasn’t all talk. The U.S. President signed an executive order that demands the sharing of cyber threat information between the government and private sector. It also encouraged companies and organizations to set up hubs to share information between each other. President Obama made statements at the summit that seem to reiterate an idea that the internet and online activities need to be controlled more and less open

“Grappling with how government protects American people from adverse events while at the same time making sure government itself is not abusing its capability is hard. This cyber world is the wild, wild west. To some degree, we’re asked to be sheriff, when something like [sic] Sony happened. People want to know what can government do about this,” Obama said.

CEO’s and presidents from companies like Intel, American Express, Mastercard and Bank of America all discussed a how they as private sector companies could be more closely tied to the government’s idea of cooperation on fighting cyber threats in light of evolving technology. “Everything from bio-metrics to new technologies that look at the underlying heartbeat, which is identified by wearing a bracelet,” Ajay Banga, the president and CEO of Mastercard said.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook made a special appearance urging his peers to use technology to protect the privacy of customers. “If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right of privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money; we risk our way of life,” he said.

While everyone inside the summit touted how they were eager to share information and work together, it was who was not present that cast a shadow over the event. Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s co-founder Larry Page and Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer were all reportedly invited, but didn’t attend.

Government relations with Silicon Valley’s tech world were strained in the wake of the U.S. National Security Agency’s mass data collection scandal, but some companies insist sharing doesn’t necessarily mean compromising customers.

“The ability to share what we’ve learned is the important thing, not sharing people’s data,” Bernard Tyson, chairman and CEO of the healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente said.

President Obama repeatedly emphasized that taking such measures were neither a liberal or conservative ideology, because everyone is online, meaning everyone is vulnerable. This school of thought isn’t entirely true, according to U.S. Census data as recently as 2013. The data, which is collected by the U.S. government, says that just 83.8 percent of U.S. households reported computer ownership and just 74.4 percent of all households in the U.S. reported Internet use.


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