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Research Report

A Nonstate Strategy for Saving Cyberspace

Jason Healey
Foreword by Jeff Moss
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2017
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 50
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. i-ii)
    Jeff Moss

    Our lives are under attack, but because it happens mostly in the shadows, many people do not notice, leaving only the experts a chance of defending themselves. As we continue to blindly connect nearly all aspects of our lives into the foundation of the Internet for increased convenience, we are also increasing the chances that our day-to-day livelihood will be greatly disrupted or deleted.

    At the personal level, that potential would be heartbreaking: bank accounts, family photos, music, contacts-all up for grabs. At the government level: public opinion, our nation’s secrets, our ability to fight wars, our infrastructure that governs...

  2. (pp. 7-13)

    The Internet, and ICT and cyberspace more broadly, has driven unprecedented innovation and prosperity–and near-total dependence on a system both unfathomably complex and inherently insecure. This complexity will become magnitudes of complexity more severe with the addition of billions of devices connected through the Internet of Things (IoT).

    It is widely known that the ICT revolution has been driven by the doubling of capability every few years, as exemplified by Moore’s Law, but often overlooked is how this doubling has fed revolutions in biology and manufacturing. The societal and economic gains from three-dimensional (3D) printing, robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles,...

  3. (pp. 15-26)

    Tied to these larger trends are several challenges specific to how US cyber and Internet policies have developed over the past fifteen to twenty years.

    The United States government lacks a single strategy to provide guidance to its many diverse departments, which work on different aspects of cyber and Internet policies.

    The result is there are at least five separate sets of strategies or policies–two for prosperity and innovation (Internet freedom and commercial aspects, including Internet governance), two for traditional national security (military and espionage), and one for criminal justice in between. Without an overarching strategy above all of...

  4. (pp. 27-37)

    Nearly every other long-term priority for the United States relies on having a safe and secure Internet, as a foundation for the economy and for projecting military power.

    Finding a strategic and sustainable balance for US cyber interests must be accordingly built around three key ends, in order of priority:

    1. Secure Cyberspace as a Means to Advance Prosperity: First and foremost, US policy must ensure cyberspace and the Internet advance US and global prosperity, not least through continuous and accelerating innovation. Other priorities are important, but subordinate.

    National security does not mean just keeping the nation safe from terrorists or...

  5. (pp. 39-39)

    As the world becomes increasingly tumultuous, so too will cyberspace and the Internet domain, unless the United States adopts a nonstate-centric strategy. It is up to the United States to ensure that its ideals prevail online to keep the Internet and ICT open to all, safe to use, and as awesome as before.

    The United States, and all of those who use any device connected to cyberspace, should never lose sight that increased interconnectivity is the single best way to advance prosperity, democratic values, and individual empowerment around the world. Should anything come to harm the Internet or cyberspace, or...