"Any e-learning program would need to include privacy and civil liberty provisions"
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Howard A. Schmidt, Former Special Advisor for Cyberspace Security to the President of the United States, answered the readers' questions about e-learning and security.
The Director of the E-learning on Defence and Security Forum, Dr Harold Elletson states that "the need for e-learning and online training in the military and defence sector has never been greater, but there is also a growing need for online training to reinforce security awareness and preparedness in civil society". Could you tell us what specific issues related to security are meant to be learnt by the civil society?
The basic aspects of security are very similar in defence and civil society. The major differences are the outcomes. In defence national security and public safety are the goal where in civil society, depending on the sector, the goal is business and financial goals. There is an exception when civil society has a responsibility in critical infrastructure protection as well as business goals. In those cases there is a “shared responsibility” to leverage e-learning training so there is a clear understanding of roles, responsibilities and response actions.
How can the learners perceive the necessity of the courses on security matters? Which are the benefits that they can obtain?
Showing the necessity for courses on security becomes a learning program unto itself. There is an old phrase that “you do not know what you do not know” still applies here. If people are not aware they need courses on security they do not get them. This falls into the category of increasing AWARENESS of the need for security training.
The benefits are very widespread, you wind up increasing reliability, integrity and availability. You get to reduce costs while providing enhanced services. In the case of government there is improved national security and public safety.
As a trainer in security, and with the global safety situation been in permanent change, how this training would affect civil liberties?
There is a significant responsibility to insure civil liberties while increasing security. Any e-learning program would need to include privacy and civil liberty provisions. The easiest way to say this is to recognize that “without security you have no privacy and privacy is the goal, security is the means to accomplish that goal”.
Would be necessary sacrifice freedom in order to safeguard security?
There always has been a balance between freedom and security and this is even more relevant in the online world. While some technologies freedoms are better looked after BECAUSE of the technologies while the proliferation of data aggregation creates concerns about personal freedoms and privacy. There need to be continuous dialogue as the technologies advance to maintain this balance.
Howard A. Schmidt (CISSP, CISM President & CEO R & H Security Consulting LLC ) has had a long distinguished career in defense, law enforcement and corporate security spanning almost 40 years. He has served as Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer and Chief Security Strategist for online auction giant eBay. He most recently served in the position of Chief Security Strategist for the US CERT Partners Program for the National Cyber Security Division, Department of Homeland Security.