Security and Freedom in Cyberspace: The case for government intervention

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. — Benjamin Franklin

There has been a recent spate of cybersecurity breaches, such as the one at Yahoo! and more recently the leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee. In a recent editorial, Moshe Yardi (2017) claims that despite decades research into information security, the rate at which new vulnerabilities are created is faster than the the number of old vulnerabilities eliminated. The risk as he points out is not limited to data breaches, bad as they may be. We now have to worry about infrastructure such the electric power grid, the telecommunication system, financial system and the transportation system.

Yardi appears to suggest that we are not investing enough in cybersecurity. As Acquisto, Friedman, and Telang (2006) point out, companies don’t have an incentive to take cybersecurity seriously. In fact wide data breaches generate enough publicity so that the share rebounds higher after a small decline. Moshe argues that similar to the National Transportation Security Board created in 1926 in the US, there is a need a for cybersecurity board.

Cyber libertarians on the other hand claim that “regulation stifles innovation.” Yardi counters that by stating that “regulation and innovation can co-exist” and that self regulation by the tech community has failed and cybersecurity cannot be resolved by market mechanisms.


Moshe Y. Vardi (May 2017) Cyber Insecurity and Cyber Libertarianism, Communications of the ACM, 60(5), 5

Acquisto, A., Friedman, A., & Telang, R. (2006). Is There a Cost to Privacy Breaches? An Event Study.Twenty-Seventh International Conference on Information Systems, (pp. 1563-1580), Milwaukee.

About The Sunday Programmer

Joe is an experienced C++/C# developer on Windows. Currently looking out for an opening in C/C++ on Windows or Linux.
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