FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Outlines New Cybersecurity Paradigm Led By Private Sector

Earlier today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler outlined his agency’s plans to address cybersecurity to the American Enterprise Institute.

Wheeler’s approach would see the private sector, not the FCC, take the leading role in addressing new cyber security threats, leaving his agency to monitor and guide, stepping in only if a market-based approach fails to adequately protect networks.

The FCC appears to think that due to the rapidly changing technological landscape, a more standard regulatory structure is less feasible than it would normally be. Wheeler said his proposed private sector-led effort “must be more dynamic than traditional regulation” and that it will “harness the dynamism and innovation of competitive markets to fulfill our policy and develop solutions.”

Component to the proposed policy is effective collaboration between private sector firms, and the FCC and other relevant government entities. Heading up the new cybersecurity push will be the chief of our Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Admiral Dave Simpson.

The goal of the new effort and task force will be to — paraphrasing the FCC, here — identify what constitutes risk, create tooling to combat that highlighted risk, deploy the tools, and then keep an eye on their performance.

So, we’re at the head of this, not the tail. Chairman Wheeler’s remarks are a decent outline, calling for both the protection of openness online and privacy, but the final result is a long way out. The risk is real. Let’s hope we can address it both competently and quickly.