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The roots of the United States' cyber (in)security

The roots of the United States' cyber (in)security
The roots of the United States' cyber (in)security
Three months after Hillary Clinton’s surprise defeat in the 2016 election, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report concluding Russia’s President Putin had ordered the theft of data from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign to mount an online influence campaign aimed at harming her electability and potential presidency. In response to this foreign intervention in the U.S. electoral process, members of Congress called for the formation of a bipartisan select committee to devise solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks. But this was not the first time a call had been raised to improve the security of America’s computer networks, and based upon the nation’s poor grasp of its own cyber history, will not the be the last. This paper explores the debates that surrounded the introduction of NSDD 145, the United States’ first cyber security directive, in 1984. The order, which sought to place the NSA at the heart of protecting America’s burgeoning computer networks in both the government and private sector from foreign penetration, became a lightning rod for dissent among Congress, private sector businesses, academics, and privacy campaigners alike. By exploring the motives of the directive’s architect, the cases put forward by its opponents, and the reasons for its eventual repudiation, this paper provides a better understanding of the enduring reasons behind America’s cyber insecurity. In doing so, it ensures historians are better informed in their efforts to place the current sense of vulnerability into a wider context, and that contemporary policymakers are better placed to approach the issue.
cyber, NSA, Reagan, surveillance, national security
0145-2096
1-29
Fuller, Christopher
c382672a-11a3-4d2a-8aa4-8ba345c64cc2
Fuller, Christopher
c382672a-11a3-4d2a-8aa4-8ba345c64cc2

Fuller, Christopher (2019) The roots of the United States' cyber (in)security. Diplomatic History, 1-29. (doi:10.1093/dh/dhy038).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Three months after Hillary Clinton’s surprise defeat in the 2016 election, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report concluding Russia’s President Putin had ordered the theft of data from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign to mount an online influence campaign aimed at harming her electability and potential presidency. In response to this foreign intervention in the U.S. electoral process, members of Congress called for the formation of a bipartisan select committee to devise solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks. But this was not the first time a call had been raised to improve the security of America’s computer networks, and based upon the nation’s poor grasp of its own cyber history, will not the be the last. This paper explores the debates that surrounded the introduction of NSDD 145, the United States’ first cyber security directive, in 1984. The order, which sought to place the NSA at the heart of protecting America’s burgeoning computer networks in both the government and private sector from foreign penetration, became a lightning rod for dissent among Congress, private sector businesses, academics, and privacy campaigners alike. By exploring the motives of the directive’s architect, the cases put forward by its opponents, and the reasons for its eventual repudiation, this paper provides a better understanding of the enduring reasons behind America’s cyber insecurity. In doing so, it ensures historians are better informed in their efforts to place the current sense of vulnerability into a wider context, and that contemporary policymakers are better placed to approach the issue.

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More information

In preparation date: 28 March 2017
Accepted/In Press date: 31 July 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 June 2018
Published date: January 2019
Keywords: cyber, NSA, Reagan, surveillance, national security
Organisations: History

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 407741
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/407741
ISSN: 0145-2096
PURE UUID: f28290ee-7714-4900-971f-7e50c03938db

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Date deposited: 25 Apr 2017 01:05
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 20:06

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