International Cyber Diplomacy: Promoting Openness, Security and Prosperity in a Networked World

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
July 14, 2011


“We seek to maximize the Internet’s tremendous capacity to accelerate human progress, while sharpening our response and our tools to deal with the threats…that are part of cyberspace.” — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have identified cyber issues as a key priority of American foreign policy. The President issued a National Cyberspace Policy Review in 2009. In May 2011, the Administration released an International Strategy for Cyberspace, which lays out our foreign policy priorities regarding cyberspace. Secretary Clinton has described these priorities as “a new foreign policy imperative for which the State Department has been exercising and will continue to have a leading role.”

The United States' International Cyber Policy Priorities
  • Promote innovative, open markets
  • Enhance security, reliability, and resilience of global networks
  • Extend law enforcement collaboration and the rule of law
  • Prepare for 21st century security challenges
  • Promote effective and inclusive Internet governance structures
  • Build capacity, security, and prosperity through international development
  • Support fundamental freedoms and privacy

Vision for the Future
As detailed in the International Strategy for Cyberspace, the United States seeks a cyberspace environment that rewards innovation; empowers individuals; strengthens communities; builds better governments; expands accountability; safeguards human rights and fundamental freedoms; enhances personal privacy; and strengthens national and international security. As Secretary Clinton has said, building a global consensus around this vision will take “patient, persistent and creative diplomacy.”

Cyber Diplomacy
The Department of State’s “cyber diplomacy” encompasses a wide range of U.S. interests in cyberspace. These include not only cyber security and Internet freedom, but also Internet governance, military uses of the Internet, innovation, and economic growth. Cyberspace has also become a foreign policy issue in multilateral fora, in our bilateral relationships, and in our relationships with industry and civil society.

What the State Department Is Doing
In partnership with other countries, the State Department is leading the U.S. Government’s efforts to build consensus around international norms of state behavior in cyberspace. To more effectively advance the full range of U.S. interests in cyberspace, Secretary Clinton established the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues in February 2011. The office’s responsibilities include bringing together the many elements in the State Department working on cyber issues; coordinating the Department’s global diplomatic activities on cyber issues; advising the Secretary on cyber issues and engagements; and serving as a liaison to public and private entities on cyber issues.

Secretary Clinton and Cyber Policy
Secretary Clinton is a leading voice in international cyber policy. Under her leadership, the State Department is integrating cyber issues into programming across the board, from our cooperation with other nations to stop criminal cartels to our economic diplomacy to our support for women and girls worldwide. The Department is sponsoring capacity-building efforts to help more countries play a role in the development of the Internet. It is supporting the efforts of human rights and democracy activists to ensure they have access to an open Internet. And it has created a 21st century statecraft agenda to harness new technologies to achieve our diplomatic and development goals.

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