Closing Remarks of Assistant Secretary Lincoln Bloomfield

I'd like to start out by saying thank you. I'd like to thank the government of Bulgaria for being such a wonderful host. As for all of us who are visiting, speaking for the American delegation, we are very grateful to Mr. Kalchev and your colleagues.

I'd like to thank all the governments who have come here to Sofia to attend our conference and I hope that you have found it to be useful and worthwhile. I'd like to thank the staff of the Boiana Guest Quarters here; it's a beautiful conference center. We've been regally treated and very comfortably received and we thank you very much, to the staff and to the management.

I know you have heard many U.S. presenters during the last two days, and perhaps the next time we meet, we will have a chance to hear from every one, a more equal chance. But we wanted to have the opportunity to bring together the people who have put together the American strategy, both from an official standpoint, from the private sector, the universities, representing the individual users, the corporate sector, just to offer a story of how we have dealt with this important challenge.

I think this afternoon you have had a lot of useful discussions on ways to cooperate regionally, the formation of a regional cybersecurity center, continuation of work in the form of incident response and security teams, to create and train new computer emergency response teams, the exploration and ways to use the energies of very smart, computer-literate teenagers, in the most beneficial ways so that we can support our cybersecurity directives and perhaps persuade them not to engage in hacking or similar crimes and ultimately to develop a regional cybersecurity strategy.

I think the U.S. delegation has probably spoken more than they listened, and now the action really turns to all of the other governments: Bulgaria and its neighbors in central and eastern Europe. The action really turns to you. The conversation does not end this afternoon. It's just beginning.

We look forward to continuing this dialogue and we will be back in touch with your governments. We will be interested to know whether you have decided on certain key elements of advancing your own national strategy, to see whether there is incompatibility between all of our approaches so that we can achieve a high level of information and/or assurance and security against the threats that we have been discussing.

I hope that, as you go about considering your own national strategies, that there has been some benefit listening to the U.S. story, to how we have handled this issue. What we've learned in the United States is that this is a new issue. Nobody was talking about this ten years ago. It is a brand new issue, and yet it is a vital issue. It is vital to the U.S. economy and to our future. It's vital to our security. And so we have had to think very quickly about this issue and to study the approaches without very much warning.

We've learned that governments have a special responsibility, a responsibility to understand the weight of the interests involved here, of the national interests. And yet governments are not the only important players. They cannot succeed at all without strong cooperation from private and independent parties in the private sector, corporations, and individual users of computers everywhere.

One country cannot succeed alone. We will not be secure in the United States unless all of us achieve a level of security.

We have found that the Internet is a tremendous tool of freedom. It is very liberating for creative minds to sit at home at any hour, working on a computer, or for a disabled person who would find it difficult to travel to a workplace, and yet is able to achieve stunning success working at a computer.

It's a very liberating tool, the Internet. It has allowed political movements to communicate around the world, organizing in favor of charitable causes and political ideas. It has allowed musicians and writers to have their work heard all over the world. It's an amazing tool of freedom. But it is also the fact that viruses that are spread through the Internet are a serious crime and that those who are abusing these freedoms should face serious consequences, criminal penalties, because the damage is just too great to ignore.

So there are a lot of challenges with the global information technology world that we are living in. We have to figure out, we have to determine and analyze how to achieve the maximum benefit from information technology networks and how to do it with the minimum of vulnerability.

No one will have the answers to this question. We have some ideas, but this is something we all must work on together. We have to figure out how to separate the innocent from the guilty when we are investigating the path of a virus around the world. Usually there is one guilty party and everyone else's computer is an unwitting agent and the person is not guilty of a crime. This is going to be difficult for our law enforcement experts, but we must master this.

How do you protect privacy in the digital age when it is so easy to collect and store and transmit information? It's a major challenge, something which again, we must all work together, balancing the tremendous liberation of information technology against the potential that it can be used against our enemies.

I am very grateful that we have begun this conversation. I think it has been extremely productive and I hope that you will view the United States as your partner as you proceed in advancing cybersecurity goals at the national level and at the regional level. So I am very grateful, again, to you, Mr. Kalchev, and to all of you for coming and we look forward to continuing this conversation.

Now I am happy to yield the floor to my friend Mr. Kalchev. Thank you.