Is it the Government’s Duty to Defend Citizens From Cyberattacks? With Michael Schrage

Is it the Government’s Duty to Defend Citizens From Cyberattacks? With Michael Schrage

The Sony hack is a very interesting phenomenon.
I think it sort of brings home some of the issues that people in other countries face.
The way, for example, North Koreans have hacked South Korea and South Korean financial institutions.
And Russians have hacked Ukrainian and Estonian institutions. The whole notion of cyber conflict
either as a low level or high level conflict has become more and more important and more
and more top of mind. And I think the most important takeaway is twofold. One is that
ordinary citizens should be concerned about whether their data assets – and that includes
everything from their social security numbers to their bank accounts to the way their mortgage
is held. They should be concerned about how adequately protected that is. But not just
– and this is important – not just by the financial institution or the retail institution
but by government. To what extent is protecting American data assets in the U.S. and abroad
the obligation and the duty of the government? How well protected are we in that regard?
I believe this is a policy and a question of great not just national import but global
import because America is a leading nation both in terms of technology and in terms of
vulnerability and it raises important questions about what constitutes self-defense in this
regard. Do we run into the situation that we just
say well this is a crime so we’ll just have the FBI and law enforcement handle it? Or
is it something else? And, you know, I’m not a lawyer nor do I care to be one but I
think we want to be really, really, really, really, really careful about saying something
like oh, it’s just an act of vandalism or oh, it’s just a misdemeanor. When, in fact,
it’s more threatening than that and we may be hurting the safety and security of our
citizens by minimizing the kind of threats that are involved here. One last thing I’m
going to say here is there is an analogy here for those people familiar with policing of
a famous broken windows arguments which is, you know, it’s a low level crime, ignore
it. And crime rates began to drop when we stopped ignoring seemingly minor infractions
of the law. When we invested as a society in norms that demanded something other than
the absence of, you know, just ignoring things at the margin but demanding respect for the
law. And this, in my view, this is as true outside of the borders of the United States
as it is inside the border of the United States. And it’s particularly true when people come
across the border of the United States to destroy, to destroy. Vandalization is a cute
word – to destroy the assets of Americans in the United States. Not cool.


  1. Post

     so what  are we gonna be the next country with a great firewall  yeah china that's the country we want to be like

  2. Post
    Ferdinand von Aegir

    hey, this vid didn't suck as much as recent vids. its no bill nye vid(get him to make more, big think!!!!!!), but its ok.

  3. Post

    So more government enforcement for "national security"? No thanks buddy. The government has been shown to be irresponsible with any measure of power and security, generally tending to abuse it in partnership with corporate war profiteers. The Internet is where we will take that power away from them. Giving government power over the Internet to "protect us" is the dumbest thing that you could propose.

  4. Post
    D Jaquith

    Well IS IT? Other than stating "it's not cool" you didn't answer your proposed question.

    Of course anytime a huge financially based attack or the government itself is attacked it's indeed the government's obligation to intervene and protect. However if it's a matter of people not being able to play some online games then no I personally don't want my tax dollars wasted.

    Instead better instruments to detect, block and report these attacks needs to be developed. Further better mechanisms for online payments needs to be employed; example instructing your financial institution to make payments to a third party instead of providing the a multitude of third parties with your credit card number and information working backwards. Single one time authorizations is all a third party needs and I much prefer to have the ability to approve recurring charges or have a fixed preapproved authorization.

    Mechanisms as above would vastly reduce the hackers abilities to create their own charges and there would be no credit card information to sell. In addition there are dual authorization processes for login's.

  5. Post
  6. Post
    Tamas Egyed

    These so-called 'cyberattacks' are overrated and sensationalized by media. But I'm all for governments making their own servers more secure it just gives hackers something more to work on. Which is good cause it leads to the evolution of technology.

  7. Post
    Leifur Thor

    Every day as technology advances ever closer to self sufficiency, powers that be will try ever harder to convince each of us we need a governing force to protect our personal interests. Luckily as trying to hold back a tide is impossible, so it is in the dwindling ability for said powers to convince the public at large.
    What is important is providing each person not only an ability to protect themselves 100% from cyberattack, but moving all necessities, such as food, water and electricity as well as banking and anything else we each need in our lives to a more independent platform, which is happening at breakneck speeds as I write this, not by any government, but by individuals who see a need and work towards filling it through creative problem solving. Government won't save you, protect you, or provide solutions for your life to be amazing, but the guy or girl down the street will. They're doing it out of their garage, and it's always what has made humanity what it is, individual spontaneous solutioning through creative problem solving.
    Shall I name just a few people who've made each of our lives amazing- Ford, Fuller, Einstein, Newton, and the list could fill volumes of individuals who've seen a need, and worked to create a fantastic solution, not spurred by any stick, but simply by being human beings doing what we do best when free to pursue our own interests. And creating that atmosphere where each person is free to keep the fruits of their labor, and the bragging rights or their glory of their efforts, that, and only that should always be our goal as a people, to work towards keeping our society as absolutely free as possible.

  8. Post
  9. Post
  10. Post

    No, the internet is not something that needs to be defended from the citizenry. It's the wild west, a whole new frontier that the government should rightly fear and I have no doubt they want to try and control this.

  11. Post

    Who is calling us a terrorist? 

    obviously the government, but I think it's something else, cough cough ews cough

  12. Post
  13. Post

    Obviously we don't because the internet will be controlled by the government which cant be trusted with our data. Companies need to invest in better security and if they don't want to then tough.

  14. Post
  15. Post

    So what these "patriotic" americans don't seem to grasp, is that 90% of the world is not he enemy of the US. Though the US threats them as if they were suspected to be among these 10% who want the US badly. most americans will never generalize it, but rather always spesify: To protect americans… bla bla patriotism bla. What would happen if EU started hacking every US citizen, because they suspected that the US and it's citizens wanted to harm it. Or if China, and India did so?

    The US would flip the fuck out, and i think the rest of the world should aswell. If the EU and alot of asian countries unified, they could stop the NSA's spying in days. If the EU and Asia stopped trading with the US till it stopped spieing, the US would have to stop spying immediatly to not become bankrupt

  16. Post
  17. Post

    Even if I dont agree, still raises a critical question. Is the constitution and principle of protecting citizens applicable to cyber space? If so, what about cyber freedom.

    Dont think this video is shit, even if I dont agree. Provocative ideas are valuable, if you make them valuable and dont simply dismiss them coupled with an instant dislike.

  18. Post


    If governments were actually invested in protecting citizens from cyberattacks, they would removed the moral hazard of companies doing a bare minimum to protect customer's data, and instead make companies fully liable for any data breach and/or identity theft.

    Simple, effective, and absolutely never purposed by government.

    Instead of discussing cyberattacks as more serious than vandalism, why not lax cybersecurity as currently not having any criminal consequences at all?

    Oh, as an aside, the broken window method of policing has some serious questions to its effectiveness, not the least of which is turning into a police state.

  19. Post

    The price that governments charge for your "protection" is often too high.

    The internet has been working amazingly well without State intervention, and the excuse of "protection" is just a way for the State to control an even bigger percentage of our lives.

  20. Post
  21. Post
  22. Post
  23. Post

    Fucking prick. Like he knows jack all about cyber security.
    It's up to the government to protect national assets.
    It's up to companies to protect corporate assets.
    It's up to the people to protect personal assets by learning the basics of the internet.
    Yeah, people are using the internet ignorantly and maybe the government can help by introducing cyber security into eduction. The government does not have the obligation to directly intervene in personal business.
    The internet is a neutral ground, so know your shit before you use it you ignorant casual users.

  24. Post
    Peter Istrate - personal

    This video has more dislikes than likes, lol. This guy and many alike are the premise of marxism. Too bad BigThink is offerong them this platform. BigThink used to be about classic liberal values, but niw i see more and more videos supporting socialism. Will unsubscribe soon.

  25. Post

    People watch one or a couple videos they don't agree with and automatically unsubscribe. This was never the right channel for you if can't take it for what it is–a platform that gets you to use your abstract/critical thinking skills. Feel free to respectfully disagree, but at least your mind is being exercised.

  26. Post
  27. Post
  28. Post
  29. Post

    The act of governments monitoring and controlling the internet is a much greater threat than any cyber-attack will ever be to citizens. If you believe otherwise then you are sure to be as naïve as you are foolish.

  30. Post
    Mat Broomfield

    All credibility blown in the last two words.

    And perhaps if the USA would stop crossing OTHER people's borders to destroy their assets (democracy in Iran anyone), then it would have ANY moral authority to whine.

  31. Post

    I would say yes the government should protect us from hackers but only to a point. It lies around assuming everyone is a criminal.

  32. Post

    "The Sony hack, UM…." was when I paused this video, wrote this comment, and left this video. Not about to listen to a man who can't finish his first sentence to an audience without using the word UM, especially on this channel and when you have more than enough time to gather your thoughts. Sorry if this is a bit harsh, but its just a pet peeve of mine.

  33. Post

    The governments responsibility to protect ends when national security isn't directly threatened.  When a defense contractor like Boeing gets hacked, that is a problem, when Starbucks gets hack it isn't.  Even if the hackers are the same State sponsor.  That doesn't mean that the government shouldn't prosecute for the lesser threat. But having companies relying on the government to protect them is just as bad and thinking government is there to protect you physically.   

  34. Post

    What was that? Almost the entire video he talked about internet crime and at the end he suddenly switched to people comming over the border ? I dont get it. Does this guy think the internet has borders ?

  35. Post
  36. Post
  37. Post
    Benjamin Gentile

    i really hate it when bigthink guys try ti be profound.  Just say what you have to say and if it's profound content that will be apparent

  38. Post
  39. Post
  40. Post

    Sooo, a man from 'merica tells the world what secruty means? A country in which are the most Prisoners per citicen? Aha i dont get it..

  41. Post
  42. Post

    Inasmuch as governments are some of the worst offenders in this regard, and also that every government builds useless 'paper empires' that are execrably inefficient, methinks this idea will not gain much traction.

  43. Post
  44. Post

    Just like every other thing that the government has taken control over, the public-key encryption of the ' 70s and the breakthrough encryption technology "PGP" (Pretty Good Privacy) of the mid ' 80s, "released in the early ' 90s" were commandeered by the federal government to limit the privacy of US citizens. Now we're considering the federal government to control our firewalls, computer security and personal data when they can't even control their own, I don't think so.

  45. Post
  46. Post
  47. Post
  48. Post
  49. Post
  50. Post
  51. Post
  52. Post
    Daniel Friesen

    Another note I do not see in the top comments is when the desire to "protect" goes to far and attacks those who want to help. I'm talking about the white hats, the ones that test sites for vulnerabilities and try to report it to get it fixed or warn people who need to be aware.

    Even without the emphasis on protection suggested in the video we already have a few court cases where attempting to make a problem known is treated as an attack and existing laws are used against the person trying to help.

  53. Post

    It's not that I don't want my government to protect me against 'cyberattacks', but rather the fact that they aren't very good at it anyways.

  54. Post
    Roedy Green

    To stop malware and cyber attacks we will need to redesign the Internet and redesign CPU chips with security built-into the hardware and a completely new OS to work with them.. The need for this goes back to the first DOS virus. But everyone keeps procrastinating.  Now it is a national security issue, perhaps the Pentagon will do it .

    The key will be air-tight compartments for each app so it cannot interfere with anything but itself.  Everything has to be digitally signed. While we are at it, we can stop piracy.

  55. Post
    Corpulent Allgod

    The internet MUST be free. You want to control your internet in Murica? Go ahead, you're free, but leave the rest of the world alone. The pretext "to protect Murica" is old now, nobody believes it anymore.

  56. Post
    Charlie McKay

    Michael Schrage missed a golden opportunity to explore the consequences of hacking on innovation and the economy. Nor was internal government hacking abuse addressed. Most new ideas and products are developed on computers which means hackers can destroy the people who create positive change by stealing their work. Without an ecosystem of talented inventors a country's economy is undermined.  Large corporations and government agencies have anti-hacking/surveillance  capabilities that can be used to steal by hacking destroying both the inventor base and reputation of the company/government agencies who assets were used illegally. The economy can be severely damaged when corporate hacking by its own management is used to promote the people who stole the information to positions for which they are grossly incompetent.  Usually people who steal ideas will fire the people who actually created the ideas resulting in brain dead companies. More media attention should be given to all forms of hacking not just hacking of the media itself.   

  57. Post

    The Government ultimately has to differentiate it's citizens and everyone else and apply different policies against them. Sound useful. Implementation is just as everything in this world is wacky, yes

  58. Post
  59. Post

    cyberspace is kind of like open borders, the security would have to be dropped to begin with in order to even have cyberspace in the first place right? and how the heck can big brother watch the whole internet in the country? if government can pull it off without slowing business down with a quantum computer then big bro would've pulled it off by now. you know companies like Sony and everyone pretty much could've prepared better by maximizing security but then their business wouldnt be as fluid and the competition that focused more on experience would win over, so what they do is they glue security holes with each screw up thats done or found

  60. Post
    J Strummer

    Yes the government should protect us from cyberattacks, we pay them taxes to keep us safe and taken care of, but the reality is they wont, there is going to be a even bigger growing need for cyber security and it will be left to big corporations just like healthcare and insurance, the taxes we pay should cover all of this and its about time they actually give us what we are meant to have.

  61. Post
    JD Mayfield

    next, we require every everyone to purchase a license to use the internet. then require registration fees to use their computer. thatll keep us safe.

  62. Post
  63. Post

    We need protection, but the government isn't respecting the citizen's privacy. My parents bank account info was stolen and they don't even use the internet. The hackers got the info most likely from a company that had my parents bank info on record. The hackers stole 5 figures from my parents account so people don't realize that their info is all over the place and the hackers can get it by proxy from anywhere. 1 option right now is to make a new cyber crime fighting entity in the government and release the NSA from its role as the internet security guard here in the US as it is a corrupt organization.

  64. Post

    The difficulty is finding the balance by which individual citizens' and business' electronic assets are protected from hackers (both foreign and domestic) WHILE minimizing our own government's ability to access those assets.  It's like telling a security guard, "Don't let anybody in or out of this room, AND don't look inside."  In the current political climate, I'm not sure I trust OUR government much more than any other.

  65. Post
  66. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *