Four candidates; Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, have emerged as the frontrunners in the 2016 presidential election. While they've debated everything from Trump's hair to Hillary's not-so-secret email scandal, cybersecurity, for the most part, has stayed on the back-burner.
Why Every Presidential Candidate Should Be Talking About Cybersecurity
The United States economy loses around $100 billion from cybercrime a year. While I could get my point across by ending the story after the first sentence, let's take a deeper look into the numbers. Just to give you an idea about how much money is lost, Amazon global sales hit just over $100 Billion in 2015, meaning the U.S. nearly lost more from cybercrime than Amazon sold all over the world. If the money totals aren't sobering enough, take into account that the $100 billion lost equals 200,000 jobs lost.
There is also the national security aspect of cybersecurity. The candidates have debated the issue on some levels, but most of the debates have centered around encryption and privacy. While some of the candidates have released cybersecurity plans, the top four candidates have yet to do so.
Breaking-down Cybersecurity Plans (or lack thereof) of The Big Four
Of the top four candidates, Bernie Sanders is the only one to have a section of his official website dedicated to cybersecurity. The section states that Sanders supported the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, and is in favor passing legislation to improve the overall cybersecurity of the nation, while protecting privacy.
As far as a specific plan? One has not been introduced, however Sanders does have more information on his stance than some of the other candidates.
"Our nation's national security and economy face unprecedented threats from cyber-attacks, and it is important that we defend ourselves as best we can while, at the same time, protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the American people." -- Bernie
Hillary Clinton has faced a very public battle when it comes to cybersecurity. Not only is she being investigated for sending confidential emails from her personal server, but audits also revealed that The State Department was among the worst agencies in the federal government at protecting its computer networks while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Perhaps she has been quiet on the issue to avoid negative attention, but she does have one paragraph posted on cybersecurity on her official website. Like Sanders, she has not released an official plan.
Cyber attacks have profound consequences for our economy and our national security. Hillary will leverage the work of the public and private sectors--overcoming the mistrust that impedes cooperation today--to strengthen security and build resiliency for economy and infrastructure. Our country will outpace this rapidly changing threat, maintain strong protections against unwarranted government or corporate surveillance, and ensure American companies are the most competitive in the world.
Donald Trump has been silent on cybersecurity, for the most part. He does not have any information posted on his stance on his official website. However, he did gain attention after calling for parts of the Internet to be "shut down" to stop the spread of terror.
"We're losing a lot of people because of the Internet," Trump said. "We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way. Somebody will say, 'Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people," Donald Trump
Like his competitors, Ted Cruz does not have a public cybersecurity plan. Cruz's official website does not mention cybersecurity, and he hasn't talked about it much on the campaign trail. He has been an open advocate of privacy and encryption, and has strongly condemned Net Neutrality.