CLBR #310 – Cyber Diplomacy Under Trump with Christopher Painter

Cyber Diplomacy Under Trump
with Christopher Painter


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Chris Painter is a globally recognized leader and expert on cybersecurity, cyber policy, Cyber Diplomacy and combatting cybercrime. He has been on the vanguard of US and international cyber issues for over twenty-five years—first as a leading federal prosecutor of some of the most high-profile cybercrime cases in the country, then as a senior official at the Department of Justice, the FBI, the National Security Council and finally as the world’s first top cyber diplomat at the State Department. He has helped drive, initiated or been involved in virtually every major US cyber policy for over a decade and has created innovative new organizations and approaches to deal with threats and take advantage of opportunities in cyberspace.

His career in government reflects the growing importance of cyber issues in foreign and economic policy.  His departure from government, however, comes at an alarming time as Former Secretary of State Tillerson eliminated the Cyber Coordinator position he once held and National Security Advisor John Bolton eliminated a cyber coordinator position from the National Security Council.

Painter has highlighted key challenges the U.S. faces in cyber policy which are outlined below.  The most important, challenge, however, may be reasserting U.S. leadership in these areas.  “The U.S. cannot afford to be on the sidelines.  Other countries are doing things legislatively that affect the U.S. … and the U.S. is on the back foot.”

  • Maintaining Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance

The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) v. control through an intra-governmental body, such as the United Nations.

See Danger in Dubai – Will the UN Takeover the Internet with Phil Corwin (2012)

  • Ensuring Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Online

The Freedom on the Net Report 2017, published by Freedom House, details a sobering picture of declining Internet freedom around the world and the actions of many repressive countries to control and manipulate speech and content.

See CLBR #266: RSF’s Margaux Ewen on Cyber Censorship and Press Freedom (2018)

  • Fighting Data Localization

A number of countries have enacted or are considering data localization mandates that require data belonging to residents, companies or entities of that country to be stored in that country. Though these laws or policies arise in part from concerns about surveillance or difficulty in accessing data for law enforcement investigations when stored abroad, and are often described as privacy or security measures, they instead, in many cases, act as trade barriers and mechanisms to enable greater state control of

  • Addressing Potentially Conflicting, Misguided or Unfair Regulatory and Legal Regimes

China Cybersecurity Law and EU GDPR as examples.

See CLBR #309 – Cam Kerry on the Need for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights (2018)

  • Promoting a Secure and Stable Cyber Environment

The future viability of the Internet as a platform for commerce and social good depends on that platform’s security and the long-term stability of cyberspace. Threats by nation states, organized criminal groups and other bad actors threaten to undermine government, business, consumer and individual confidence in the Internet and networked technologies. Moreover, a number of recent cyberattacks and intrusions
amply demonstrate that malicious cyber activity can have large economic impact.


Christopher Painter

Tw: @C_Painter

Commissioner, Global Commision on the Stability of Cyberspace; Board Member, Center for Internet Security; Bartels World Affairs Fellow, Cornell University; Chair, Global Forum for Cyber Expertise working group on Cyber Security Policy and Strategy.

  • 2011-2017: Coordinator for Cyber Issues, U.S. Department of State

In his most recent government role as the nation’s top cyber diplomat, Mr. Painter coordinated and led the United States’ diplomatic efforts to advance an open, interoperable, secure and reliable Internet and information infrastructure and advised the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of State on these emerging issues. The pioneering office that Mr. Painter established — the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues —was the first high-level position and office dedicated to advancing the diplomatic aspects cyber issues ranging from national security to human rights matters anywhere in the world. Today more than 25 countries have created similar positions. In this role, Mr. Painter worked closely with the White House, other agencies, the private sector and civil society to create and implement US international cyberspace policies. These cross-cutting issues include promoting norms of responsible state behavior and cyber stability, preventing cyber conflict, enhancing deterrence, advancing cybersecurity, fighting cybercrime, promoting multi-stakeholder Internet governance and advancing Internet freedom. Among many other things, Mr. Painter was instrumental in negotiating a landmark agreement regarding the theft of intellectual property with China, negotiating a comprehensive cyber cooperation agreement with India, using diplomatic and other tools to combat high-profile cyber attacks and intrusions, and launching first of their kind “whole of government” cyber dialogues and capacity building programs with dozens of countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. He and his team also spearheaded the promotion of an international framework of cyber stability that includes building a consensus around norms of acceptable behavior and getting agreement on transparency and confidence-building measures designed to reduce the risk of miscalculation that could inadvertently lead to cyber warfare.

  • 2009-2011: Senior Director for Cybersecurity, National Security Council

Mr. Painter served in the White House as the first Senior Director for
Cyber Policy and Acting Cyber Coordinator in the National Security Council. He advised the President, the National Security Advisor, and the Homeland Security Advisor on a wide range of cyber issues and ran numerous high-level interagency and multi-stakeholder processes to develop and carry out US cyber policy. He was a senior member of the team that conducted the President’s Cyberspace Policy Review in 2009 and he subsequently helped create and then structure a new directorate in the National Security Council devoted to these issues. He also proposed and then coordinated the development of the President’s 2011 International Strategy for Cyberspace — the first such strategy by any country.

  • 2008-2009:  Deputy Asst. Director, FBI Cyber Division
  • 2000-2008:  Principal Deputy Chief – DOJ Computer Crime and IP Section

He helped lead the case and policy efforts of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the US Department of Justice where he supervised national security and cybercrime matters, developed international networks to advance the fight against cybercrime and chaired the cutting edge G8 High Tech Crime Subgroup from 2002-2012.

  • 1990-2000: Assistant U.S. Attorney (Los Angeles)

Mr. Painter began his federal career as an Assistant US Attorney in Los Angeles where
he led some of the most high profile and significant cybercrime prosecutions in the country, including the prosecution of notorious computer hacker Kevin Mitnick, the first two Internet stock manipulation cases in the country, and one of the first high
profile distributed denial of service case that knocked many prominent Internet companies off-line.

Mr. Painter has been a frequent media spokesperson and presenter on cyber issues around the globe. He has given over one hundred presentations and speeches to industry, government, academic and international audiences and testified on numerous occasions before Congress. He is the recipient of the prestigious RSA Award for Excellence in the Field of Public Policy (2016), the CES Government Technology Leadership Award (2018), the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the Intelligence Community Legal Award and has been named to the “Federal 100” list, among other honors. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Cornell University
and clerked for US Circuit Judge Betty Fletcher.





Remembering the Munich Massacre

Happy 78th birthday to Jo Raquel Tejada aka Raquel Welch.

. . . And Freddy Mercury would have been 72 today.