Sunday, December 13, 2009

Russia and the United States: Cybersecurity

One of the buzz words in the news in 2009 has been the "reset" in US-Russia relations. I am curious as to whether, ten years from now, we will look back and talk about the "reset" the late aughts the way we now talk about the "detente" of the '70s.

An article on the front page of this morning's Times (here) talks about one of the elements of the reset: cooperation between the US and Russia on cybersecurity. It sounds like both countries would like to work towards an international treaty that would impose standards to "safen" the operation of the internet (is safen a word?).

Cybersecurity is a huge issue; I just think of the times when the internet shuts down at the office -- even for an hour -- and what a huge disruption it causes. What happens when this happens on a massive scale? It seems like American business (and government) could effectively be shut down in a matter of minutes, if there were a widespread outage. I can't begin to understand, though, what mechanisms can be established to protect the infrastructure of the internet. Unlike physical infrastructure, it's all so diffuse, and so accessible.

At any rate, I am glad that the Obama Administration is prioritizing the issue and cooperating with other countries to address it.

I love this picture of the purple lights and how it attempts to illustrate the phenomena of the internet.

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