OPINION: Why Sanders Is The Only Leading Candidate to Stand Up on Cybersecurity
If there are swing states, there are also swing issues. These are the issues where there are no “official” Republican or Democratic positions. These issues are significant because it is here where the candidates’ values must come out.
Unfortunately, these are also the issues that presidential candidates tend to avoid on the campaign trail. Since having positions on these “swing issues” might alienate their voting blocs, candidates play it safe.
This 2016, three of the four leading candidates (Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton) are staying true to form. However, the longest-running independent member of Congress, Bernie Sanders, has taken a firm stand.
First: Is Cybersecurity An Issue?
Home security has become so shaky that a residence is robbed every 15 seconds. Physical property is the easiest to protect, since most of the problem can be solved by automatic light systems, cctv cameras, and deadbolts on doors.
Unfortunately, personal cybersecurity is a whole lot harder to protect. Since 2014, cybersecurity experts and service providers such as McAfee Labs, Cyber Senate, and Symantec have predicted multiple dangers for Internet users that will simply increase over the years. They include password hacking, cyber-espionage, and cyber theft.
With the current debates on the CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act), cybersecurity should have once more become an issue for the presidential election. However, the candidates have remained mostly silent. Why is Bernie Sanders the only Democratic candidate with a solid stance?
Why Is The GOP Quiet On Cybersecurity?
One reason could be the transparency issue perpetrated by Jeb Bush. In an attempt to prove his trustworthiness through transparency, Bush released a host of emails under his personal email domain. However, this move proved over-ambitious, bringing transparency to a new negative high as private social security numbers were revealed in the emails. Apparently, his office had either forgotten to or overlooked the scrubbing of those numbers before making the emails public.
The last thing the other presidential hopefuls want is name association with a candidate who inadvertently placed other people's sensitive information on the Internet.
Why Is Clinton Quiet On Cybersecurity?
Rather than seizing the moment and hitting the GOP for not focusing on the issue, Clinton must stay silent as well. Her blunder was using a private email account to send sensitive State Department business over the Internet while she was secretary of state. Secure emails were created for a specific reason, to increase national cybersecurity, but Clinton may have thought it unnecessary.
It is a matter of common sense that more cybersecurity is required for overall national security. However, it would be difficult for Clinton to speak on the issue with this controversy lingering over her head.
What Does Bernie Sanders Say About CISA and Cybersecurity?
On October 23, Sanders tweeted:
The CISA would encourage and legally enable private companies to share digital data with the security branches of the federal government. Sanders dislikes the exposure of sensitive private data that is possible under this act.
The most fascinating thing about Sanders’ stance is that some might think he should have the same lock on his tongue that Trump and Carson do, since Clinton had a cybersecurity scandal much like Bush. However, in typical Sanders-fashion, he appreciates the fact that his audience is the entire voting population -- especially independent voters.
In a recent IVN poll, Bernie Sanders was top-of-the list for independent voters at 44.7%. This is no accident. Sanders’ strong stance even on this swing issue comes from his independence, despite running for the Democratic nomination. Sanders is too practical to think he can realistically win on an independent ticket. However, he has not let running on the Democratic side limit him.
Cybersecurity: Make It An Issue
Voters are not supposed to needle and provoke presidential candidates until they lose their composure on national television. That would simply be tabloid media. However, voters should make sure that these candidates tackle issues that matter. Cybersecurity, which can creep past any physical barrier, should be a topic for the presidential election.