Spafford Attends White House Cybersecurity Briefing

Professor Eugene H. Spafford of Purdue Computer Science & CERIAS was invited to a briefing at the White House on July 14. The briefing was focused on drawing attention to the government's efforts to reduce risk and build confidence in the critical information and communications infrastructure. The meeting was convened by Howard Schmidt, Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President.  Professor Spafford was one of 130 people in attendance from government, industry, and academia.  The two hour unclassified event was closed to the press.   Key speakers included Mr. Schmidt, the Honorable Gary Locke, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Honorable Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security.  Officials from several other agencies including the Department of Defense, ODNI, NSF, OSTP, and the Department of State were present but they made no formal remarks.

President Obama made an unannounced appearance after the meeting had commenced and he addressed the audience for 15 minutes. He emphasized the increasing importance of security of digital communications and information infrastructure. President Obama said that there is a need for continued collaboration between the private sector and government, stating "That's why we're going to need all of you to keep coming together-government, industry, academia, think tanks, media and privacy and civil liberties groups-to work together, to develop the solutions we need to keep America safe and prosperous in cyberspace." 

The meeting concluded with Mr. Schmidt promising further interaction with members of the community represented by the audience, and noting that there would be some activities during National Cyber Security Month (October).   He also invited feedback on the various plans being issued by his office.  Further high-level briefings are likely to be held.

Professor Spafford notes that the remarks of attendees -- both formal and informal -- were encouraging, and further validate the many activities in cybersecurity, privacy and cyber forensics being carried out at Purdue within CERIAS. 

 

Source: Progress Report on Cybersecurity, Howard Schmidt; personal account, E. H. Spafford