US president Barack Obama has signed an executive order in a bid to enhance cyber security information sharing between government and private sector companies.
Obama signed the order after giving a speech at Stanford University on Friday, in which he outlined the need for better information sharing in response to mounting cyber threats.
"So much of our computer networks and critical infrastructure are in the private sector, which means government cannot do this alone,” he said.
"But the fact is that the private sector can’t do it alone either, because it’s government that often has the latest information on new threats.
"There’s only one way to defend America from these cyber threats, and that is through government and industry working together, sharing appropriate information as true partners.”
Obama cited the Sony attack from late 2014 as proof of the extent of this threat.
“The North Korean cyber attack on Sony Pictures destroyed data, disabled thousands of computers and exposed the personal information of Sony employees," he said.
“These attacks are hurting American companies and costing American jobs. So this is also a threat to America’s economic security.”
The cyber sharing executive order promotes information sharing, but does not enforce any such measures, merely urging organisations and businesses to share data whenever possible.
"The purpose of this order is to encourage the voluntary formation of such organisations, to establish mechanisms to continually improve the capabilities and functions of these organisations, and to better allow these organisations to partner with the federal government on a voluntary basis," it reads.
The move comes just days after the US created a new agency, the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, which will act as a central hub for spotting and fighting cyber threats to protect the US and its economy.
Technology giants such as Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter are also forming their own collectives to share cyber threat information, as companies recognise that sharing data will boost defences against cyber criminals.
Obama also touched on other highly contested areas of the digital world during his speech, such as net neutrality, again outlining his support for this idea.
"I want more Americans succeeding in our digital world," he said. "It’s why I’ve come out so strongly and publicly for net neutrality, for an open and free internet because we have to preserve one of the greatest engines for creativity and innovation in human history."
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