Melissa Hathaway, Senior Fellow and a member of the Board of Regents at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, this past October delivered a lecture at Oklahoma University titled “The-Data Driven Economy as a Matter of National Security.”

The Internet was developed in 1969 for the military, however since that time it has developed into the backbone of business, critical infrastructure, and the global economy. Information communication technology (ICT) and the Internet has increased efficiency and productivity as ICT uptake has increased. This is set to increase in the future with the Internet of Things. Due to our hyper-connectivity, ICT, the Internet, and data has immense economic value. However, data is at risk to an underground economy where digital assets— our money and identity-- can be stolen. Targeted attacks penetrating traditional cybersecurity systems have become more common. The frequency and severity of these attacks will only increase as the threat of the offensive capability of these attacks are outpacing our defenses. These cyberattacks will come at great cost to our economic development.

Moreover, the Internet has also become a tool for governments to control and suppress their citizens. Recent government actions in several countries have increased surveillance and limited freedom of expression. Moreover, many companies are handing data over governments. Likewise, many governments are attempting to set the rules of engagement for cyberspace. These cyber issues will continue to challenge governments and businesses, as they attempt to navigate cyber regulation and data protection. Leaders must align the economic and national security agendas; engage in a conversation about the Internet of Things; focus on energy, telecommunications, and finance infrastructure; and clean-up infected infrastructure. This will require political capital, passion, and persistence to be effective, but it is necessary for our economic and digital future.

Download the pdf here.


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