DHS official fields hard questions at Black Hat

DHS official fields hard questions at Black Hat
DHS official fields hard questions at Black Hat 

By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service
July 28, 2010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent its highest-ranking 
official ever to speak at the Black Hat conference this week, and its 
Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute ended up fielding a few tough questions 
from skeptical computer security professionals in attendance.

During a question-and-answer session at the end of her Wednesday keynote 
address, one attendee asked if we should expect the DHS to give 
cybersecurity the same kind of treatment it's given air travel with the 
Transportation Security Administration. "Why should we believe that DHS, 
going forward, is going to protect cyber in something other than the 
same way?" he asked, scoring the loudest applause of the session with 
the question. "Now as the TSA slows down the air travel, DHS will slow 
down the commerce."

The undersecretary disagreed with this characterization of the TSA, but 
conceded that there is a "tension" in the DHS' mission. "We want to keep 
out people who might be dangerous, but we want to expedite legitimate 
trade and travel."

"We happen to believe that we can achieve our security, we can protect 
our rights, we can protect commerce and lawful interchange," she said. 
"We can have all of these things, but we need to engage in a debate 
about how we will prioritize and how we will strike the balance."


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