Missing from the Trump Cabinet Nominee Hearings: Cybersecurity for Everyday Internet Users

This week, the U.S. Senate is assessing a slate of cabinet nominees for the incoming Trump administration. If confirmed, these nominees are some of the people who will shape public policy for the next several years on critical issues — including civil liberties and national security.

Members of the Senate asked a range of essential and direct questions. But cybersecurity questions were not a significant part of the discussion in the hearing for potential Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who will lead the Department of Justice, including law enforcement investigations that involve technology.

At the recent Sessions’ Senate hearings, cybersecurity was discussed chiefly in regard to government-sponsored cyberattacks. Discussion about robust cybersecurity for everyday Internet users — through practices like strong encryption — was largely absent.

Mozilla is disappointed that cybersecurity — and the stances from appointees who will need to work on it regularly — was not a priority at the Senate hearings. It would have been helpful if the Senate asked Sessions to clarify his position, and even better if they asked him to clarify that privacy and security are important for all Americans and a healthy Internet.

We need a government that openly discusses — and values — a more secure Internet for all users.

Protecting users’ privacy and security online is a crucial issue for all of us. Security protects elections, economies and our private online and offline lives. And many recent events (cyber attacks, hacks and threats by foreign governments) show that a secure Internet is currently under threat.

I recently wrote about how cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. Governments, technology companies and users need to work together to strengthen cybersecurity. Mozilla knows that even one weak link — be it technical or legislative — can break the chain of security and put Internet users at risk. The chain only remains strong if technology companies, governments and users work together to keep the Internet as secure as it can be.

You can help Mozilla stand up for a more secure Internet. We’re asking readers to pen a Letter to the Editor to their local newspaper in response to this week’s Senate hearings, and support personal security and privacy online. Get started here.

Photo:  Derrick Noh / Flickr

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