Homeland Security chief visits UC Berkeley

Photo: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited UC Berkeley to discuss national security efforts in cyberspace.
Jeffrey Joh/Staff
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited UC Berkeley to discuss national security efforts in cyberspace.


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Janet Napolitano Speaks at UC Berkeley

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks at Sibley Auditorium on the important contributions made by the science and engineering communities in maintaining national security.



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Janet Napolitano Speaks at UC Berkeley Part II

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks at Sibley Auditorium on the important contributions made by the science and engineering communities in maintaining national security.



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Janet Napolitano Speaks at UC Berkeley Part III

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks at Sibley Auditorium on the important contributions made by the science and engineering communities in maintaining national security.



Video »




Janet Napolitano Speaks at UC Berkeley Part IV

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks at Sibley Auditorium on the important contributions made by the science and engineering communities in maintaining national security.



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Janet Napolitano Speaks at UC Berkeley Part V

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks at Sibley Auditorium on the important contributions made by the science and engineering communities in maintaining national security.



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Napolitano Talk
Napolitano talk on cyber security.


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The secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security visited UC Berkeley Monday and called on students to aid the department's national security efforts in a new frontier.

As the final speaker in a lecture series hosted by the campus's College of Engineering on themes of industry and technology, Janet Napolitano emphasized her department's foray into the world of cyberspace in an address to an audience of about 250 students and faculty members, as well as individuals from the private sector and press.

Following a reminder to students to honor free speech for everyone on campus and faculty introductions, Napolitano began her speech at the campus's Sibley Auditorium by asserting the increased security challenges facing the United States in the wake of 9/11.

"Terrorist threats have not gone away ... they have evolved," she said, adding that the evolution of the virtual world has led to changes in the physical world - and a need for the department to reassess its role in providing protection to the citizens it serves.

A specific policy move cited by Napolitano was an online identification program unveiled by President Barack Obama last week.

In the program, online passwords would be replaced with passport-like "credentials" in order to protect consumers against cyber crime and identity theft as well as online spamming, while eliminating the need for Internet users to recall a score of passwords.

That security strategy is the subject of widespread concern, voiced by sophomore Shahbaz Shaikh following Napolitano's presentation.

"While the online ID creates a new way of operating on the net while increasing the safety of online purchasing, it robs us of our typical anonymity," Shaikh said, adding that "as a representative of the Department of Homeland Security, an aspect curiously absent (from Napolitano's speech) was China's attacks on firms like Google and Sony, or Canadian security."

Napolitano's address instead accentuated the importance of fostering government partnerships with academia and industry.

One such partnership highlighted by Napolitano as well as Dean of the College of Engineering Shankar Sastry was the Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology - a campus research group charged with the development and construction of cybersecurity technologies protecting national infrastructure that receives funding from the department.

Napolitano appealed to student listeners directly, urging them to participate in the organization of cyberspace and provide their input to the department via email.

"We promise to actually read emails because we've actually gotten some very interesting ideas after speaking at universities," she said.

Another concern stressed by Napolitano was the attractiveness of interdisciplinary training in policy and technology or engineering.

Constance Lu, a junior studying electrical engineering and computer science, is currently taking a computer security course and said that learning about the policy aspects of her studies appealed to her.

"Working in an environment that is a government environment is probably a different thing than a lot of you thought about," Napolitano said. "Consider coming to work at the Department of Homeland Security."


Noor Al-Samarrai covers Berkeley communities. Contact her at [email protected]



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