Security

Tillerson proposes Cyberspace and Digital Economy Bureau to address security, policy creation

The new bureau would aim to lead international diplomatic efforts involving all aspects of cyberspace.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wants to create a bureau to cover cyberspace and the digital economy.
  • The suggested bureau would tackle current and future problems including cybersecurity and digital economics.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wants to develop a Bureau of Cyberspace and the Digital Economy, according to a letter from him to Edward Royce, the chair of the committee of foreign affairs.

The bureau, as described in the letter, would help the US lead international efforts in all aspects of cyberspace. As the world, its economy, and its businesses become increasingly digital, a group of informed experts may be necessary to help develop policies in the US and abroad.

"With increasing incidents of disruptive global cyber attacks, including some sponsored by nation states, and the emergence of the digital economy dependent on internet connectivity, U.S. international leadership in this area will be important in the years to come," Tillerson wrote.

SEE: Network security policy (Tech Pro Research)

The bureau would create an approach to current and future issues in the field, namely cybersecurity and the digital economy, according to the letter. More specific topics like the emergence of cryptocurrency and internet connectivity in rural areas may also fall under the potential bureau.

The proposal would merge the existing Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues and the Bureau of Economic Affairs' Office of International Communications and Information Policy into the Bureau of Cyberspace and the Digital Economy. If approved, the new bureau's leader would need to be confirmed by the US Senate, and would then report to the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment.

Tillerson noted the position would work closely with both the government and the private sector to create policy. As more companies engage with digital transformation, face cybersecurity threats, or experiment with cryptocurrency, having a say in policy may help them continue those efforts legally.

In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order easing the permitting process for internet service providers (ISPs) looking to build towers in rural areas. Two weeks later, FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed $500 million in funding for small carriers looking to connect rural areas. If successful, the efforts could begin increasing internet connectivity in rural parts of the US, bringing more areas of the US into the digital economy

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Image: iStockphoto/Ultima_Gaina

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is a Multiplatform Reporter at TechRepublic.

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