At a glance.
- US and Japanese ministers meet to discuss cyber collaboration.
- US President Joe Biden speaks out about user data privacy.
- New bill focuses on energy cybersecurity research.
US and Japanese ministers meet to discuss cyber collaboration.
The US-Japan Security Consultative Committee (SCC) convened in Washington yesterday to discuss how the two nations can collaborate on their defense strategies, and cyber issues were at front of mind. US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III co-hosted the meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu. As the statement released yesterday explains, “Recognizing the convergence of their nations' new national security and defense strategies toward bolstering deterrence in an integrated manner, the Ministers provided a vision of a modernized Alliance postured to prevail in a new era of strategic competition.” They highlighted the March 2022 launch of the Japanese Self Defense Forces Cyber Defense Command, and the US supported Japan's creation of a new organization to coordinate whole-of-government cybersecurity policies, and the introduction of a risk management framework which will allow for greater cooperation between the two nations. The ministers also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Projects and the Security of Supply Arrangement as well as the substantial progress on the Reciprocal Government Quality Assurance, important steps toward bolstering US and Japanese tech capabilities and strengthening the nations’ partnership.
US President Joe Biden speaks out about user data privacy.
In an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, US President Joe Biden called for lawmakers to pass legislation to better regulate how tech companies use, collect, and share personal data. As the Wall Street Journal explains, President Biden has been pushing for a rewrite of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from liability for content users post on their sites. In particular, Biden emphasized how data collection negatively impacts women, minorities, and minors. “We must hold social-media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit,” President Biden wrote. He also underlined the need for legislation focused on bolstering competition in the tech sector in order to prevent Big Tech from dominating the market. “The next generation of great American companies shouldn’t be smothered by the dominant incumbents before they have a chance to get off the ground,” he wrote. House Republican lawmakers recently formed the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, aimed at investigating allegations that the Biden administration has been working to influence content hosted by platforms like Facebook and YouTube. In an apparent reference to these investigations, Biden wrote, “We’ve heard a lot of talk about creating committees. It’s time to walk the walk and get something done.”
New bill focuses on energy cybersecurity research.
Two members of US Congress, Democrat Deborah Ross of North Carolina and Republican Mike Carey of Ohio, have introduced the Energy Cybersecurity University Leadership Act, a bill aimed at funding cybersecurity research supporting the nation’s energy infrastructure. In addition to providing scholarships, fellowships, and funding for research and development projects – with particular focus on schools with minority populations – the bipartisan measure would offer students the opportunity to gain research experience at the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories and utilities. Noting that her state is home to two universities that are pioneering cybersecurity and clean energy research, The Record by Recorded Future notes that the same bill was introduced last year but did not pass the Senate. Ross stated, “This legislation will better equip our students and researchers in North Carolina and beyond to tackle growing cyber threats. I am grateful for Congressman Carey’s partnership on this issue and look forward to advancing this important legislation.” Carey added, “Continued cybersecurity threats on America have led to the need for bipartisan and common-sense legislation that will protect our energy grid. The Energy Cybersecurity University Leadership Program will allow for PHD and graduate students to dedicate their time to researching ways to bolster our national security and avoid large scale power outages and attacks on our critical infrastructure.”