At a glance.
- States and the moderation of online speech.
- An overview of the NCSC.
- The future of quantum computing in the US.
- NATO cyber coordinators meet.
States and the moderation of online speech.
Yesterday the US state of Texas filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to reject an emergency application seeking to block a state law regulating content moderation on social media. The Washington Post reports that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that social media platforms should be considered “common carriers,” like telephone companies, and as essential services they should be subject to government regulation. In response, Florida and ten other states filed an amicus brief in support of the law, their argument being that social media is essentially a massive, modern day public square and as such has “enormous control over speech.” The debate indicates a possible shift in how online content is moderated. Social media platforms have historically benefitted from a “best of both worlds” scenario, enjoying immunity from lawsuits over content associated with common carriers while also reserving the right to control the content that passes through them. Conservatives concerned that tech companies are censoring their speech on social media are turning to state legislature for action. Just last week, tech companies expressed their shock over a decision in the 5th Circuit allowing the aforementioned law to take effect, a ruling that could have more states seeking similar laws.
The NCSC in a nutshell.
Tripwire offers a primer on the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which serves as a first point of contact for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), large organizations, government agencies, and the general public. Born out of the UK’s five-year National Cyber Security Strategy established in 2015, the NCSC collaborates with other law enforcement, defense, intelligence, security, and international partners to support the nation’s cyberactivities. Former Minister for the Cabinet Office Ben Gummer summarized the NCSC’s philosophy: “London leads the world in so many ways already, it is only right that we establish the country’s first Cyber Security Centre in the heart of the capital as Britain continues to lead in tackling this global issue. Whilst retaining access to the world leading capabilities, partnerships and people of the intelligence community, this new centre will have an ‘open-door’ policy which will make it easier for businesses of all sizes to get the best support available for cyber issue.” Due to a recent surge in attacks on government agencies, NCSC will be supporting the government’s 2022- 2030 Cyber Security Strategy: “Building a cyber resilient public sector.”
The future of quantum computing in the US.
Quantum computing remains a central priority for US cybersecurity policy, and at a panel hosted by think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies this week, representatives of the National Security Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) discussed the government’s plans for implementing quantum technology. The Department of Homeland Security says it is preparing for quantum computers capable of cracking even the strongest encryption by as early as 2030, and Govtech explains that it will be a race against time. Charles Tahan, OSTP’s assistant director for Quantum Information Science and director of the National Quantum Coordination Office, said during the panel, “We know that moving to a new cryptographic system can take 10 years or more if you do it right.” According to Jonah Force Hill, director of cyber and emerging technology policy for the National Security Council, part of the challenge will be determining which parts of agency systems use the public key encryption methods that are at risk, and then prioritizing which data need to be secured first. CISA has been tasked with working with state and local governments, many of which rely on older systems that will require funding and technical assistance to modernize. Staffing will be another hurdle, and a May 4 memorandum directs the government to implement educational and workforce development efforts to ensure the nation has the talent pool needed to support these quantum tech efforts.
NATO cyber coordinators meet.
NATO's national coordinators for cybersecurity met yesterday in Brussels, the Hill reports, the first time such a group has convened. The meeting was prompted by the Russian war against Ukraine, and the ways in which it's altered the strategic landscape. "Allies have expressed concern that cyber threats to the security of the Alliance are complex, destructive, coercive, and becoming ever more frequent," a NATO press release said. "NATO is a strong platform to share information, to exchange national approaches and responses, as well as to consider possible collective responses. Allies are also providing practical support to partners, including Ukraine."