On Friday, September 9, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the Obama Administration to take more action against the theft of trade secrets and other intellectual property. The Chamber did so in response to a Request for Information issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), seeking industry input regarding various cybersecurity issues, including the economic consequences of hacking.
The Chamber explained that “IP-related industries generate 35 percent of America’s economic output and are responsible for two-thirds of all exports and more than 40 million jobs” and that the “threat of trade secrets theft is of increasing concern to U.S. economic well-being and job creation.” Noting that it had previously called on Congress to pass federal civil legislation, it praised the passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act as a step in the right direction.
Underlying the Chamber’s emphasis on trade secrets protection was its broader goal of establishing norms and deterrence to “heighten the costs on sophisticated attackers that would willfully hack America’s private sector for illicit purposes.” This was one of only three “top” cybersecurity issues that the Chamber chose to address, along with standards and information sharing, and that it urged the executive branch to prioritize.
These and other comments submitted will help inform the new Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, which President Obama recently convened. The Commission will then craft recommendations to the President for improving cybersecurity – and possibly trade secrets protection – across the public and private sectors.