The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Joint Fact Sheet: U.S.-UK Progress Towards a Freer and More Secure Cyberspace
Today, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron reaffirmed the vital partnership between our two nations on cybersecurity. Recognizing there are few areas where partnership across borders is more urgent or necessary, the President and Prime Minister noted with satisfaction the deep level of cooperation that exists between the United States and the United Kingdom in ensuring networked technologies continue to empower our societies and economies, and those around the globe.
At the same time we remain focused on the threats to a global cyberspace and to the rights of its users. As a handful of governments use cyberspace to oppress their citizens and prevent access to legitimate political speech, we will continue to cast light on these activities. We condemn in the strongest terms Syria and Iran’s unilateral actions to deprive citizens of their rights to freely seek and impart information on-line, and reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding the free flow of information and the exercise of these fundamental freedoms, wherever they are threatened.
President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron further agreed that protecting our economies must also begin in the example we set at home. Economies built to last must encourage innovation; strengthen the security and reliability of the global internet; and fully leverage the expertise of the private sector, civil society, and academia in making sound Internet and technology policy.
We have made significant progress in advancing this vision:
- We affirm that the digital world cannot be a lawless frontier, and commend states that are increasingly recognizing their role in promoting a just and peaceful order. We support the growing consensus around international norms of behavior in a networked world, and the contribution the United Kingdom’s November London Conference on Cyberspace played in this regard. It was the start of a focused and inclusive dialogue between all those with a stake in the Internet, and where most states present agreed that efforts to improve cybersecurity must not come at the expense of human rights like freedom of expression and association, which apply with equal force online as well as off. The President and the Prime Minister look forward to further progress being made at the Conference on Cyberspace in Budapest later this year, and in Seoul in 2013.
- We share an abiding commitment to keeping cyber-criminals from victimizing our citizens and weakening our trust in networked technology. Owing in part to our close partnership, it is harder than ever before for criminals to operate in cyberspace with impunity. To further strengthen the rule of law in cyberspace, both nations are now party to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, and will work actively with other nations as they undertake the accession process. The United States and United Kingdom enjoy a model international partnership, as authorities including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency work together to detect and prevent fraud, exploitation, and other types of on-line crime.
- We recognize that today, our economic security and network security are inextricable; therefore, we must do a better job of sharing cybersecurity information between industry and our two governments, while continuing to safeguard the privacy and civil liberties of citizens that are the hallmarks of open and democratic societies. In the UK a new project is underway that enables companies in key sectors of the economy to exchange and act on cyber threat information, and to work with each other and government to develop long term cybersecurity solutions. In the U.S., Federal agencies are building trusted relationships with critical sectors for sharing cyber threat information founded upon sound information handling policies and oversight. In addition, the Obama Administration has proposed a new statutory framework to further facilitate the exchange of cyber threat information between the public and private sectors, with strong protections for privacy and civil liberties. The Administration is committed to working with Congress to see such legislation enacted.
- As two of the world’s most networked nations, we cannot lose sight of our obligation to carry the benefits of this technology to individuals the world over, especially its poorest, as a commitment to their future. The United States and United Kingdom are committed to enhancing connectivity and building capacity through our diplomacy, international aid, and other projects abroad. Just a few examples include the U.S.-hosted 2011 East African Community cybersecurity workshop in Nairobi, an international conference Department for International Development (DfID) will host later this year on the use of new technologies and social media to promote greater transparency and accountability between governments and citizens, and our active promotion of the Open Government Partnership.
- We cannot be secure in cyberspace without sharing with one another the knowledge of the threats we face, and our policies for confronting them. As the United States and the United Kingdom continue developing joint capabilities that support our national security interests in cyberspace, we are sharing more and more incident data to help us and our allies counter advanced persistent threats. We are also actively testing our National Cyber Incident Response plans through joint exercises; and this year we will step up our joint planning across government in order to anticipate and prepare for future challenges in cyberspace.
- Finally, we recognize that we must stay one step ahead of cybersecurity threats by investing in cutting-edge research, and pooling our resources across borders. To help ensure our nations remain at the forefront of the information economy, the United States and the United Kingdom have launched a trilateral initiative with Australia to fund new research and development for improved cybersecurity. The international partners will jointly request research proposals, conduct joint reviews, and provide coordinated funding and support to pull-through of the resultant technologies.