Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the Cyber Security and Privacy Conference

Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the Cyber Security and Privacy Conference, February 2, 2017

Thank you very much for having me here today.  The United States Embassy strongly supports Kosovo’s efforts to increase its cybersecurity capacities in both the public and private sectors.

I am very encouraged to hear the Kosovo Government has approved a comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy and Action Plan.  To open this important event today, I would like to say a few words today about the nexus between cybersecurity and privacy.

The digital economy is booming around the world – creating new jobs and opportunities we couldn’t have imagined even a decade ago.  Increasingly our lives are interconnected and online – from our critical infrastructure and national security systems, to our cars and bank accounts, the digital economy has brought us efficiency and greater effectiveness.

If all nations and people are to reap the tremendous political, economic, and social benefits that these technological advances offer, cyberspace must be open, interoperable, reliable, and secure.

We also know that with quickly changing technology, our policies and tools must be adaptable and flexible.  We must develop our policies and regulations with a focus on flexibility and an eye to ensuring an environment for innovation.

Threats online exploit the increased complexity and connectivity of our livesand place at risk national security, the economy, public safety, and our health system.

Cybersecurity cannot be addressed solely by one country, or one business.  Because the threat does not respect borders, our response must be a collaborative response.  We must work together to create an Internet and online space that is safe, secure, interoperable, and accessible by all.

To mitigate threats, it is very important to build a culture of cybersecurity and increase citizens’ and industries’ awareness of their critical role in protecting cyber systems.  Threat analysts will tell you that one of the greatest threats to our cybersecurity is ourselves – our weak passwords, our poor administrative practices that make us vulnerable.

Maintaining cybersecurity is hard work.  Developing the norms, policies and practices for this work is critical.  And our adversaries have the advantage.  They can experiment and make mistakes with little consequence, they are looking for the vulnerability.

The pervasiveness of this threat requires that every part of law enforcement be digitally literate.  This includes those who are spending their days protecting kids, fighting fraud, fighting spies, fighting terrorism, and protecting intellectual property.

One particular threat I would like to highlight is the growing trend of radicalization around the globe.  I am sure you are concerned, as we are, about any space terrorists use to plot attacks.  We must find additional ways of making it even harder for terrorists or criminals to find refuge in cyberspace.

When the use of social media crosses the line from communication – the expression of views, even views that we may find profoundly troubling – and into active terrorist plotting that is deeply concerning and has to be addressed.

Neither we, nor the providers of these technologies, want to allow terrorists to use this equipment to intiate or plot attacks.  We strongly encourage technology companies to harness their entrepreneurial and innovative expertise to consider ways in which we can make it harder for terrorist groups to recruit and radicalize.

On a final note, I would like to stress that it is critically important to consider state and public security on the one hand, and protecting and guaranteeing fundamental human rights and freedoms on the other.

Cyperspace must be open and resilient.  It must include safeguards that protect internet freedom.

With that, I would like to thank you again for having me here today and for your hard work to strengthen Kosovo’s cybersecurity capacity.