The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
The world today is awash in data—more than we’ve ever had in human history, and it’s growing at a current rate of 3 quintillion bytes of data a day. With the explosion of new devices, sensors, and technologies, the data growth rate is continuing to erupt. So, if data exists in ridiculous abundance, and everyone – not just the national security community – understands its value, why are clarity, wisdom, insight, and answers to our most vexing national security and private sector challenges so elusive? And if it’s a world where the threats are to and through data, why do we keep being surprised at our adversaries’ and competitors’ attacks when we don’t invest in security?
Data is the fuel for government services and private sector activity; national security and e-commerce; situational awareness and competitive advantage; early warning and fraud detection; to name just a few. Increasingly, data is the answer to every question, the fuel of every action, and the target of every bad actor, from criminals to terrorists to state-sponsored entities.
And yet, everyone from business leaders to national security decision-makers are either under using or over relying – probably both – on data produced for a different purpose and with little understanding of its pedigree. It’s time to restructure the data ecosystem.
Please join the Intelligence Project for a timely conversation with the Honorable Sue Gordon on restructuring the data ecosystem on Wednesday, December 16th from 12:00-1:00pm.