The U.S. Has Abandoned Leadership of the Internet

By Mark Weatherford

Mark Weatherford has more than 20 years of security operations leadership and executive-level policy experience in some of the largest and most critical public and private sector organizations in the world. In 2011, Weatherford was appointed by President Obama as the Department of Homeland Security’s first Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and before DHS, he was the Vice President and Chief Security Officer at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) where he directed the cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection program and worked with electric utility companies across North America. Prior to NERC, Weatherford was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as California’s first Chief Information Security Officer and he also served as the first Chief Information Security Officer for the State of Colorado, where he was appointed by two successive governors. As a former U.S. Navy Cryptologic Officer, Weatherford led the United States Navy’s Computer Network Defense operations and the Naval Computer Incident Response Team (NAVCIRT). Weatherford serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at the George Washington University, the Board of Directors at the National Cybersecurity Center, is an Affiliate at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), an affiliate faculty member at the Desert Research Institute, and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Poneman Institute. He’s an investor in multiple technology startup companies and serves on the  Executive Advisory Boards of AlertEnterprise, BitGlass, Boldend, Chevron, Coalfire, Coventry, Cylance, and Indegy. He is also on an Advisory Board for Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.  

By Paul G. Doherty

Paul Doherty currently works for identity cybersecurity startup OverWatchID and has advised venture-backed cybersecurity startups and global, public technology companies on growth strategies, market trends, policy, and risk management. Mr. Doherty previously served as an Associate at The Chertoff Group where he worked with the firm’s clientele to drive growth, strengthen positioning and build partnerships, and assess new market and investment opportunities in the cybersecurity market. Prior to joining The Chertoff Group, Mr. Doherty worked as Special Assistant to the CEO at the software company VidSys where he helped streamline core sales and operations processes for a federally registered small business in the national security sector. Doherty graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Government with a minor in Arabic.

A hundred years from now historians will write that one of America’s greatest contributions to the world was the Internet. Though other countries and foreign citizens contributed to the effort, U.S. government funding and American academics and technologists created the Internet. As U.S. dependence on the Internet for our economic prosperity, security, and public safety have increased, why have we abdicated our role as overseer and arbiter?

The sad reality is that the U.S. Government seems to have willfully surrendered our seat at the table and ceded leadership to private technology companies and others who desire a more prominent role in governing the Internet. Unfortunately, this includes nations that would use their leadership in ways that are inconsistent with Western democratic norms. This abdication is not a waning of influence as a result of newfound technological superiority by other countries, but rather a relinquishment of our earned influence through an astonishing lack of leadership and diplomacy.

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