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Remarks at the White House on the Launch the U.S. International Strategy for Cyberspace

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AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Tuesday, May 16, 2011
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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
Remarks at White House on the Launch the U.S. International Strategy for Cyberspace

Good afternoon.  Thank you all for coming.  

The events of the past year – and even of the last weeks – have shown us again how information technology is transforming our world.  The rapidly evolving digital landscape affects us all at an individual level – in a very personal way. 

Given these dramatic changes, I am proud to take part in announcing, the Nation’s first-ever, all-encompassing International Strategy for Cyberspace.

This is truly a monumental effort …a comprehensive strategy in which the U.S. government is integrating into one single statement our vision for cyberspace’s future. 

Industry analysts estimate that the Internet is responsible for $10 trillion in annual online transactions.  And no doubt, this figure continues to grow.

Today, nearly every transaction you can think of is being done online:

  • Consumers pay their utility bills from their smart phones;
  • People download movies, music and books online; and
  • Companies, from the smallest local store to the largest multinational corporation, order goods, pay vendors and sell to customers via the Internet.

To continue to fuel these and future innovations, we policymakers have a responsibility to do what we can to promote confidence in this still-relatively new medium. 

That's what ought to underpin everything we do in cyberspace:

Confidence. 

  • People need confidence that their identity and their personal information will be secure online;
  • Businesses need confidence that their intellectual property won’t be stolen; and
  • Government agencies and our military need confidence that our trade, technology and military secrets are safe from our adversaries.

And let’s be blunt – because much of cyberspace was initially designed for convenience instead of with operational integrity as a top priority, we are oftentimes fighting an uphill battle.

To preserve and even improve on people’s confidence in cyberspace, we need an environment that not only rewards innovation and empowers entrepreneurs, but one that also is constantly improving upon the integrity of the interactions that take place online.

As the Strategy points out:

… cyberspace should safeguard fundamental freedoms and enhance personal privacy… 

… it should be open to innovation, interoperable the world over and facilitate novel ways of conducting trade, and

… it should be secure enough to earn people’s trust; and reliable enough to support people’s work.

The Commerce Department is pleased to play an important, contributing role in making real the Strategy we’re discussing today. 

To ensure that cyberspace continues to serve the needs of our companies and innovators, the Department will work with our colleagues to:

  • Sustain a free-trade environment.
  • Encourage technological innovation on accessible, globally linked networks.
  • Protect intellectual property, including commercial trade secrets, from theft.
  • And ensure that technical standards are made robust, as determined by technical experts – not mercantilists. 

All these efforts, current and ongoing, are aimed at shoring up and improving upon our confidence in cyberspace. 

As you know, I’ve been nominated by President Obama to serve as the nation’s ambassador to China. This is very humbling, but also a challenge I look forward to.  Should I be confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with Secretary Clinton and my other diplomatic colleagues to advance these goals and the broader set of cyberspace objectives with our Chinese counterparts.

As the Strategy makes clear, the effort to build confidence in the cyberspace realm is one that must be pushed forward in capitals around the world.  I look forward to prospect of taking on that particular challenge in Beijing.  Thank you very much.