By Andrew Burt and James C. Trainor for TIME
Who’s responsible for protecting the 2020 presidential elections against cyber attacks?
Nobody really knows, either inside or outside the U.S. government. To be sure, many agencies are hard at work combating cyber threats, but when it comes to fighting increasingly urgent threats in cyberspace – from attacks on our elections to hacks into the data stores of our largest companies – there is simply no one steering the ship. Instead, our government is confronting cyber threats through a largely incidental blend of overlapping agencies and authorities.
Congress and the Administration can fix this by creating a standalone agency, with the requisite mix of law-enforcement and intelligence authorities, to serve as the single source of threat information and investigations into network intrusions directed against the U.S. This would inject structure, coherence and accountability into our government’s approach to the cyber domain.
“Creating a new government agency to police cyberspace would trouble me. Ideally, the internet is decentralized, unregulated, and rapidly evolving. Any centralized authority sufficiently empowered to protect our security and privacy online would necessarily risk both.
“I doubt it would achieve any real benefit. Although the online world is sometimes terrible, it is also wonderful. Its beauty comes from the fact that everyone controls just a tiny fraction of it – the fraction at our fingertips. If the article above makes one point persuasively, it is that there are already too many government hands in the internet.
“The internet is where I go to wonder the answer to every question, to speak with my friends and family, to get directions, read news, do business, and sometimes find a date. I admit there are disadvantages to the internet’s wild west persona. But I like the internet brought to me by the technical illuminati of genius savants more than whatever diluted safe space government bureaucrats might create.
“We could shift personnel from FBI, CIA, DHS, ATF, NSA, etc. to create a super cyber agency. But I think www is fine without that.”