Government and Internet Security

Cybersecurity is an issue important to many Americans, including federal lawmakers and government workers. However, the government’s role in Internet security is a complex issue, and one with many nuances and boundaries that need to be respected in order for the Internet to truly be a free exchange of information and ideas.

Government and Internet security have long had a confusing relationship, one that is interpreted very differently from those with different political viewpoints. For example, when the FCC attempted to exert control over Internet service providers, conservative audiences saw the potential harm in this approach, contending FCC interference is an overstep that would restrict economic growth. Liberals, however, heralded the decision. There have been considerable political differences in other convergences of government and Internet security as well. However, with the American economy of today largely powered by the Internet, there is little room for disagreement or political delay in ensuring Americans can access the Internet safely and securely.

The Federal Trade Commission currently has oversight over Internet security, and that is where that responsibility should lie. FCC involvement, such as what we recently saw, could inhibit competition, stifle the economy and impose unnecessary and overbroad privacy regulations. Likewise, intervention by federal lawmakers can also have detrimental effects. Many in the high-tech industry—from Google to Apple and everything in between—are operated by those with political biases, largely liberal, who spend significant time and money lobbying federal lawmakers. That type of influence should not play a role in how our Internet operates.

The relationship between government and Internet security should exist, but it needs to be one with clearly defined rules, roles and regulations. Anything that deviates from the expectations can run the risk of infringing upon the privacy rights of Americans and the basic tenets of the American economy.