Blinken: US Agencies Will Unify Cyber Approach With ‘Digital Solidarity’

The US Secretary of State promises a unified stance on some of the biggest technological advancements and concerns during an appearance at one of the nation’s premier tech events.

Shane Snider , Senior Writer, InformationWeek

May 7, 2024

3 Min Read
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the audience at RSA Conference 2024 in San Francisco.Photo by Shane Snider

SAN FRANCISCO - RSA CONFERENCE 2024 — Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, delivered welcome news of a unified approach across federal agencies to solidify the country’s approach to cybersecurity and promising-but-uncertain technology advances pushing the boundaries of imagination. Artificial intelligence, cyberattacks, and war peppered his discussion and excitement for advancements was tempered with reverence for the gravity of the moment.

“A new generation of general purpose, foundational technologies are transforming our world,” Blinken said, citing advancements in artificial intelligence, semiconductors, advanced computing, quantum technology, clean energy tech, biotechnology advancements, among others. “The resulting breakthroughs are rewiring every aspect of our lives.”

The past two years alone have brought unprecedented advancements -- along with dangers -- as OpenAI’s juggernaut chatbot ChatGPT pushed generative AI (GenAI) to the forefront of the tech landscape not just for enterprise, but for the average citizen. The thrill of GenAI’s leap forward was matched by worry -- existential questions about the future of work, art, ethics, and human existence were pushed to the limits as worldwide governments struggled to keep up with the pace of innovation. Cyberattacks aimed at our critical infrastructure continually grab headlines as world superpowers jockey for position in a global technology arms race.

Related:‘They’re Coming After Us’: RSA Panel Explores CISO Legal Pressure

“The issues that are the bread and butter of this conference are increasingly a major focus of our diplomacy,” Blinken said. “Today’s revolutions in technology are at the heart of our competition with geopolitical rivals.”


So, Blinken said, the US needed to solidify its approach to the sudden shift in technology advancements.

Blinken used the occasion to announce the creation of the US International Cyberspace and Digital Strategy, which seeks to align the nation’s cybersecurity and technology goals throughout multiple government agencies.

“We’re harnessing technology for the betterment, not just for our people and our friends, but for all of humanity,” Blinken said. “The United States believes emerging and foundational technologies can and should be used to drive development and prosperity, to promote respect for human rights … to solve shared global challenges.”

Blinken’s address was preceded by a talk from Hollywood Gen X icon Matthew Broderick. His turn in "WarGames," a 1983 film about the threat of advanced technology and the threat of thermonuclear war, proved to be influential -- not just to theatergoers, but to policy makers. Then-President Ronald Reagan consulted with national security advisers after a viewing of the film, influencing diplomacy for decades to come.

Related:The Continuing Vulnerability of US Critical Infrastructure

“We finally know what Ferris Bueller did on his day off,” Blinken joked, referencing Broderick’s iconic role in the John Hughes film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”


Blinken said the Biden administration’s stance on technology, which includes the landmark AI Executive Order that created guardrails around the safe use of GenAI, will serve as a benchmark for future tech regulations. He said the administrations’ actions “guard against dangerous applications” and “create guardrails against the misuse of digital technologies.”

He also touched on cyberattacks aimed at our critical infrastructure, saying the US was “building coalitions to prevent the export of intrusive technology and spyware used to harass dissidents or activists … to bring dozens of countries together to combat ransomware, which steals billions of dollars from our economies every single year.”

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About the Author(s)

Shane Snider

Senior Writer, InformationWeek, InformationWeek

Shane Snider is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of industry experience. He started his career as a general assignment reporter and has covered government, business, education, technology and much more. He was a reporter for the Triangle Business Journal, Raleigh News and Observer and most recently a tech reporter for CRN. He was also a top wedding photographer for many years, traveling across the country and around the world. He lives in Raleigh with his wife and two children.

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