News Releases
News Coverage
News Media
PFF Highlights
News Release
CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
February 6, 2006 , 2005
(202) 289-8928


Securing the Internet Project
Outlines Security Roles
PFF Project Announces May 10th Internet Security Summit

WASHINGTON D.C. - Governments, business and consumers all have a role to play in addressing data security, explain Orson Swindle and Patrick Ross in a new Progress on Point, "Managing Information and Its Security: The Role of Policymakers, the Private Sector and Consumers." This is the first publication from PFF's Securing the Internet Project, which will include a series of papers and a major Internet Security Summit on May 10th of this year. The release of the paper also corresponds with the start of National Consumer Protection Week, which highlights education and outreach efforts to raise consumer awareness and promote safety and is promoted by the Federal Trade Commission and other government agencies.

The paper, authored by PFF's Orson Swindle, Distinguished Fellow and Patrick Ross, Senior Fellow and Vice President of Communications and External Affairs, is intended to serve as a baseline for further discussion on Internet security by addressing the roles of consumers, businesses and government. The authors discuss growing consumer concern regarding the perceived inadequate privacy and security of personal information in light of 2005 data breaches, but warn against hasty responses from legislative and regulatory bodies. "Given the tremendous personal and economic benefits that flow form private markets, government officials must resist the urge to 'do something' to quickly satisfy political needs, and they must always be mindful of the oft-proven laws of unintended consequences of government 'solutions,'" explain Swindle and Ross.

The authors also urge the federal government to work closely with the private sector to educate businesses and consumers and to create a legal framework to override conflicting laws. In addition, the private sector should implement aggressive self regulation and modify management processes to make respect for privacy and protection of personal information a daily part of the corporate culture and way of doing business. Consumers, the authors state, should take responsibility for their role in securing the internet by using available security tools, safe practices and information that can substantially reduce vulnerabilities.

In addition to these observations, Swindle and Ross identify three key concepts that are vital to any future security solutions:

•  A commitment to the continued legitimate flow of information that drives today's commerce;

•  An enhanced respect for individual privacy and a commitment to protect sensitive information; and

•  Effective means to minimize vulnerabilities to this vital part of our critical national infrastructure and security.

The Securing the Internet Project, launched last November and led by Distinguished Fellow Orson Swindle, former FTC Commissioner, will promote an energetic and creative dialogue on the issues of information privacy and security; appropriate technology applications to improve information security; pro-active efforts by industry and the Administration to lead the way toward those solutions; rational legislative and regulatory solutions when deemed absolutely necessary; and educating businesses, organizations and consumers about available effective tools and best practices that will help move us toward a more secure Internet.

The May 10th Internet Security Summit in Washington, DC, will feature keynote speaker Deborah Majoras, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. The event is intended to provide a forum to address such issues as the scope and nature of Internet security threats and the appropriate responses by the public and private sector. The agenda will include panel discussions highlighting the roles of businesses, government and consumers. Conference participants and attendees, including executives from Internet security companies and high-level government officials, will discuss the need for voluntary best practices in the public realm. More information on speakers and panelist will be released in the upcoming months. For more information on the Summit, please visit the PFF website.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation