Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The State of the Union Address -- Internet related points

I was in class during the State of the Union Address last night, so read the transcript online today. I zeroed in on the Internet-related points.

The President mentioned the threat of hackers and called for legislation that would "give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks." Hey, who can argue against that? But, the curmudgeon in me notes that he spoke only of defending against attacks, which leaves me wondering what are we doing with respect to offensive attacks. I also have a slight worry that some of the attacks we spend taxpayer money deterring might be attacks on the intellectual property of movie studios, record companies, book publishers, etc.

He also announced that he had issued an executive order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, but I have not yet read it.

The President also raised this rhetorical question "Ask any CEO where they'd rather locate and hire, a country with deteriorating roads and bridges or one with high-speed rail and Internet, high-tech schools, self- healing power grids." High speed Internet and high tech education are clearly on his mind. (For more concrete evidence of this, see FCC Chairman Genachowski's recent Gigabit City Challenge.

A comment which indirectly impacts the Internet was a call for stepped up energy and medical research -- "Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the space race."

That is what struck me in the speech. Now for a couple of meta comments.

1. I chose to read the transcript rather than watch the video. It was faster and I could copy the above quotes as I went along. I was also able to quickly link to the executive order on security and the Gigabit City Challenge, but, I missed the emotional "content" of both the President and the audience. Perhaps that diminished my impression of the importance of the speech.

2. As soon as I finished reading the speech, I skipped over to FactCheck.org and found that they did their thing and concluded that "The president spins his accomplishments on jobs, health care and deficit reduction in annual address." How cool was that?