Michael Chertoff, JD
Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush
Former Federal Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Former Assistant Attorney General of the United States, Criminal Division
Michael Chertoff, in some ways, needs no introduction. He has been in the news frequently, having served as the second Director of Homeland Security under President George W Bush. At the same time, Chertoff’s greatest achievements were what was not in the news and what did not happen, including the terrorist and cyber-attacks that were thwarted. Chertoff’s unique background leading up to that strategic appointment, combined with his government service and private sector work since then, give him a comprehensive expertise in cyber technology and how it can impact and even control us.
Chertoff is not one to just sound alarm bells, however. He has developed proposals for how we can protect ourselves as a society, in our businesses, and in our individual private lives, while still realizing the very real benefits of technological advancements. Finding the balance between risks and benefits poses an unusually complex challenge. Toward that end, Michael Chertoff has just released a new book, Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age, and WACOC is pleased that he will be a most timely keynote speaker at our upcoming Annual General Meeting on September 13, 2018.
Chertoff is currently the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of The Chertoff Group, which focuses on providing Risk identification, analysis and mitigation, Crisis management – prevention, preparation, response and recovery, and Strategic counsel on global security solutions. As the Chertoff Group’s website states, “Before heading up the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Chertoff served as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Earlier, during more than a decade as a federal prosecutor, he investigated and prosecuted cases of political corruption, organized crime, corporate fraud and terrorism – including the investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Mr. Chertoff is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College (1975) and Harvard Law School (1978). From 1979-1980 he served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr.
In addition to his role at Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff is also senior of counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, and a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group.”
In his book, Mr. Chertoff argues that our current legal and policy frameworks are badly out of date for dealing with the issues surrounding the new developments in cyberspace. In a July 9, 2018 review for the Washington Times,Joshua Sinai, notes,
“Mr. Chertoff focuses on the technologies that currently mine personal data for law enforcement (especially those that can pinpoint the identities, locations and activities of persons engaging in illegal activities, such as terrorism), or companies (tracking an individual’s purchasing or voting tendencies in social media for marketing purposes, including credit scoring) where safeguarding law-abiding citizens’ civil liberties, especially their rights to privacy, is paramount.
“Most concerning, Mr. Chertoff writes, is that not only do “those who collect and aggregate that data have an increased power to influence and even coerce our behavior — possibly through social shaming and financial incentives and penalties,” but that the “expansion of online networks that are connected to physical systems and that even control their operation, has dramatically expanded the ability of malign individuals to interfere with the physical world.” Bad actors, he adds, are also sabotaging information technology systems and engaging in vast identity breaches and thefts from bank accounts and other data sources.”
Mr. Chertoff goes on to propose, in his final chapter, a framework for new laws to manage the balance between security and civil liberties that would include “licensing private sectors to defend their networks” when they are attacked; implementing laws to “control the use private parties can make of individual data”; and to “incentivize private parties to collaborate with the government in protecting against shared vulnerabilities.”
WACOC looks forward to hosting what will be an interesting, authoritative, and important presentation on a subject that directly impacts us all, locally and globally.