Tagged: CybersecurityAntifraud

UN trade report calls on governments to improve environment for e-commerce

24 March 2015 – The scope for developing countries to participate in and benefit from e-commerce is expanding, according to a new United Nations report released today, with improved connectivity, new e-commerce applications, platforms and payment solutions, and the emergence of local e-commerce companies that are tailoring their services to local demands.

The 2015 edition of the Information Economy Report (IER), published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), analyses trends and international policy issues related to information and communications technology and its links with trade and development.

“As the digital economy expands and more business activities are affected, it becomes more important for governments to consider policies that can help to harness e-commerce for sustainable development,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, specifying that governments need to improve areas including information and communications technology infrastructure, the legal and regulatory environment, and develop skills in their populations.

The report includes a B2C (Business-to-Consumer) E-commerce Index, which draws on data to assess e-commerce readiness and help States to formulate their national e-commerce strategies. Through the Index, governments can identify their relative strengths and weaknesses. In Africa, for example, internet penetration levels need to rise to promote e-commerce readiness.

Making information and communications technology work for development requires more than expanding the infrastructure, the report says. In order to foster productive and inclusive use of information and communications technology, governments need to create legal, institutional and policy frameworks and generate the necessary skills in government, business and civil society and the Index measures progress in those areas.

Among developing countries, States at the top end of the Index are in East Asia, including the Republic of Korea and Singapore, with larger countries such as Brazil, China and Russia performing better than predicted, suggesting that large markets facilitate e-commerce.

Business-to-consumer e-commerce, valued at $1.2 trillion, is currently much smaller than business-to-business (B2B), which is worth $15 trillion, but is growing at a faster rate, especially in Asia and Africa, and is expected to double in size to $2.4 trillion by 2018.

To enable that, postal networks will be vital and the report measures data on home postal delivery as an indicator of countries’ readiness to engage in B2C e-commerce. In Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia and Oceania, the extension of postal home delivery was found to be particularly important.

“Posts are seeing the mail makeup changing, with more merchandises making their way through their networks,” said Bishar A. Hussein, the Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU). “They must prepare for this growth by adapting their products and services, processes and infrastructure.”

The UNCTAD report also notes that growing concerns over cybercrime affect the willingness of both buyers and sellers to make transactions online, with research showing that the enactment of laws to facilitate security and trust in online transactions varies considerably globally, with significant gaps in many developing countries.

Although the United States is by far the most targeted country, accounting for almost half of known cases of cybercrime, information security is a rising concern for governments, enterprises and consumers around the world, especially given that $3.5 billion was lost in supplier revenue due to online fraud in 2012.

UNCTAD’s report calls for interoperability of legal measures between States, with 117 countries having enacted cybercrime legislation. Ensuring international compatibility of e-transaction laws remains a challenge and the report says the legal recognition of e-signatures, electronic contracts and evidence at a national level should ideally be extended to those originating in other jurisdictions.

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERETSE KHAMA IAN KHAMA,

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERET…

13/11/14

1. Madam Speaker, before we begin may I request that we observe a moment of silence for those of our citizens who have departed from us during the past year. Thank you. 2. Honourable Members, it is my pleasure to once more present an updated assessment of how Government intends to move Botswana forward by seizing opportunities to secure our future. 3. As this is the first session of the 11th Parliament, let me preface my remarks by welcoming the newly elected members of this Assembly. Let me further congratulate you Madam Speaker on your own election.

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERETSE KHAMA IAN KHAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, TO THE FIRST SESSION OF THE ELEVENTH PARLIAMENT – “MOVING BOTSWANA FORWARD”

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1. Madam Speaker, before we begin may I request that we observe a moment of silence for those of our citizens who have departed from us during the past year. Thank you.

 

2. Honourable Members, it is my pleasure to once more present an updated assessment of how Government intends to move Botswana forward by seizing opportunities to secure our future.

 

3. As this is the first session of the 11th Parliament, let me preface my remarks by welcoming the newly elected members of this Assembly.  Let me further congratulate you Madam Speaker on your own election.

 

4. Today’s gathering is an outcome of our 11th consecutive general election. As is our tradition, the ballot was conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner. For this we can once more thank Batswana in general, as well as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and other individuals and organisations that helped to ensure the poll’s success.

 

5. In any democracy elections are the means to the greater end of forming a Government capable of translating the popular will into public service delivery. We who have the honour of sitting in this House are accountable to the hundreds of thousands who entrusted us with their votes. Although divided in their choices, the voters were united by a shared desire for a better future. It is, therefore, our responsibility to ensure that together we deliver that future by at all times putting the national interest before our own.

 

6. Last month my party, the Botswana Democratic Party, was re‐elected on the basis of a detailed manifesto that promised to secure our common future by building on our past achievements. Today, before this House I reaffirm our commitment to honour that pledge.

 

7. In as much as we recognise that a government of and by the people is not an event but a process; this administration shall continue to engage Batswana across the country about their concerns through various fora and media, from the venerable realm of dikgotla to the digital world of interactive online communication. It was as a result of wide-ranging consultation that our manifesto was predicated on what we understood to be our citizens’ core aspirations. These include achieving:

 

• Job creation for sustainable livelihoods and income generation;

• Food security through continued agricultural renewal;

• Expanded access to land and housing ownership;

• Access to world-class quality education that caters to current and future needs;

• Citizen, including youth, economic empowerment;

• Dignity for all through the eradication of poverty;

• Zero tolerance for corruption in all of its manifestations;

• Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and

• Government reform that leverages on the application of new technologies. 

 

8. Each of these commitments is based on realistic analysis of where our country is and needs to go in order to meet the reasonable expectations of its people, while improving our global standing in an ever more competitive world. Taken together they are consistent with our broader vision of achieving inclusive sustainable development that upholds the dignity of all.

 

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

 

9. Madam Speaker, owing to the prudent economic and financial management by my Government, the country was able to survive the 2008/09 global financial crisis and economic recession with minimum impact on the domestic economy. We were able to save jobs in both the public service and private sector, as well as continued to provide essential public services to our people.

 

10. Having successfully weathered the storm of the economic downturn, we can look forward to better days ahead, with economic growth buttressed by reduced inflation. These positive trends should allow us to revive some of our postponed projects, along with outstanding issues affecting the conditions of service among public employees. Our optimism is in part based on forecasts of continued, albeit still fragile, global economic recovery, with worldwide output projected to grow by 3.3% in 2014 and 3.8% in 2015.

 

11. Turning to the domestic economy, the gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices stood at P124 billion in 2013 and it is projected to expand to P136.5 billion in 2014. In real terms, the GDP grew by 5.8% in 2013, and is projected to grow by 5.2% in the current year, driven by both the mining and non-mining sectors.   Within the non-mining sector, retail and hospitality industries, as well as agriculture are experiencing growth.

 

12. Average national inflation continued to decline from 8.5% in 2011 to 7.5% in 2012 to 5.9% in 2013 and further to 4.5% in September 2014, which is well within the Bank of Botswana objective range of 3 to 6%. This positive trend gives us confidence in our ability to maintain a low inflation environment, which is necessary for domestic enterprises to compete in the global market.

 

13. In terms of our fiscal management, Government succeeded in restoring a balanced budget during 2012/13 financial year, after four years of budget deficits. For the 2013/14 financial year we were able to collect P 48.9 billion, up from the P 41.7 billion received in 2012/13, while total expenditures and net lending for 2013/14 amounted to P 41.73 billion. This resulted in a budget surplus of P7.2 billion, largely due to the good performance of the mineral sector. For 2014/15 a budget surplus of P1.3 billion is currently projected. These savings will allow us to reduce our debt burden and rebuild our financial reserves.

 

14. To sustain a positive balance sheet will, however, require expanded revenues. Here I can report that we were able to collect P48.9 billion in the 2013-14 financial year, up from the P41.7 billion received in 2012-13. The 2013/14 outturn for expenditure and net lending was P41.7 billion.

 

EMPLOYMENT

 

15.  Madam Speaker, to be meaningful to Batswana, economic growth has to be accompanied by expanded employment, which is why our manifesto listed job creation at the top of our aspirations. To reiterate what I said in my own message to the voters, of all our campaign promises tackling unemployment is the most important one. While there has been some progress in recent years, current estimates put unemployment among those 18 and above at just over 17%. Although this reflects a modest reduction since 2007, it has been insufficient to absorb all those seeking employment, especially among our talented youth. We can and shall do more.

 

16. Our Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) is a key instrument for job creation. Since its 2010 inception, EDD has been facilitating employment generating business opportunities by promoting the consumption of local products. While our immediate focus has been leveraging public procurement in support of domestic industries, as we move forward our emphasis will shift to developing greater internal capacity for export-led growth, while continuing to value local goods and services.

 

17.  So far a total of P13.3 billion worth of goods and services were recorded since the inception of the initiative. Out of this figure, the value of local manufacturers and service providers (EDD purchases) amounted to P590.5 million for 2010/2011, P1.8 billion for 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 and P2.3 billion for 2013/2014. Over one thousand enterprises have so far been registered under the EDD Programme, which has contributed to the employment of 28,000 Batswana.

 

18. We have already begun implementing our EDD Medium to Long Term Strategy, to develop sustainable sectors for economic growth and diversification. A leading example is the Leather Sub-sector Strategy, which is focused on the establishment of a Leather Park in Lobatse at a total cost of about P225 million. Government has agreed to finance the park’s primary infrastructure, a Common Effluent Treatment Plant, estimated to cost P102 million, while other components of the project will be financed through private sector investment.

 

19. Government had also budgeted over P20 million to provide temporary assistance for over 12 months to support 34 textile companies, employing 2,912 workers.

 

20. While the nurturing of SMMEs, support for existing industries and value addition remain critical in our achievement of job creation, we further anticipate that over the next few years local formal sector employment will be generated with the emergence of new economic opportunities through the synergies generated by the development growth nodes or clusters across the country.

 

21. In the Chobe region, for example, we anticipate an expansion of opportunities in tourism, construction, transport services and agriculture resulting from the construction of the road and rail bridge at Kazangula and phase one of the water pipeline to Pandamatenga, along with associated infrastructure. It is estimated that when completed these two mega-projects will create over 9000 permanent jobs.

 

22. Additional emerging labour intensive opportunities are already being generated in our urban areas, as reflected in Selebi-Phikwe’s development as a metallurgical hub, the continued growth of Gaborone as a global diamond as well as regional technical services centre, and Francistown’s growth as a nexus for trade and transport. We further anticipate additional jobs through synergies generated by new mining activities, the continued expansion of commercial agriculture and the development of Trans-Kgalagadi road and potential rail corridor.

 

COMPETITIVENESS    

 

23. A key to unlocking these job creation opportunities will be increasing our global competitiveness. To improve our competitiveness ranking in the area of goods market efficiency we have tightened our market monitoring for greater efficiency in the provision of goods and services, while the Competition Authority is reviewing mergers and potential cartel activity involving both local and foreign companies.

 

24. Madam Speaker, job creation is inevitably linked to investment. In this respect the latest FDI Intelligence report indicates that Global Greenfield FDI showed signs of recovery, increasing by an estimated 11% from 2012 to 2013. The increase in local investment has been even greater, with UNCTAD’s 2014 World Investment report showing Botswana having grown by 27% in 2013.

 

25.  The Botswana International Trade Centre (BITC) continues to promote our country as a competitive location for investment, making business contacts and generating leads. During the 2013-2014 financial year, BITC helped realise a total combined investment capital of just over 1 billion pula, of which P 642 million was from foreign direct investment (FDI) and P449 million came from new domestic investments. In 2012/13, BITC further recorded P1.9 billion worth of goods and services exported into the region and beyond, of which P738 million was attributable to financial and international business services by the financial services cluster.

 

26. Botswana was ranked number one in the 2014 Baseline Profitability Index, surpassing Hong Kong as a location for medium to long term returns on investment. In essence the Index suggests that investors can expect to do well here once they have established themselves in our market.

 

27. Government is, furthermore, working to limit the number of licenses and permits, while allowing mixed land use zoning, adopting risk based approach for Environmental Impact Assessments and Management Plans, and decentralising the management of electricity connections.

 

28.  Government has also embarked on a National Work Ethic programme to promote productivity. So far, 254 facilitators have been assessed to implement the programme, which commenced in May 2014.

 

29. The drafting of a Bill which will provide the legal framework for the establishment of Special Economic Zones and the Special Economic Zone Authority is being finalized.

 

30. The Rural Development Council (RDC) has been upgraded as the national consultative body to promote and coordinate the implementation of rural development policies and programmes. As a result community based projects such as the Zutshwa Salt Project and the Mogobane Irrigation Scheme, to mention some, have been resuscitated.

 

CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT

 

31. Madam Speaker, it is pleasing to note that to date, CEDA has funded 5,462 enterprises with a total value of nearly P8.55 billion, in the process creating over 48,935 thousand jobs.  During the 2013/14 financial year, CEDA assisted 151 new enterprises with a total monetary value of P152 million, collectively generating 1042 new jobs.

 

32. Since its inception, LEA has also facilitated the creation of 4995 new jobs, including 568 in the ongoing financial year. The Authority has further trained a total of 9,317 entrepreneurs. In an effort to inculcate an entrepreneurial culture, LEA embarked upon the Entrepreneurship Awareness Workshops among secondary school leavers, vocational trainees and prison inmates; over 26,000 of whom have been trained.

 

33. Madam Speaker, through the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), we have encouraged our small and medium enterprises to implement quality assurance activities within their businesses. Progress has been made in certification of goods especially in the building and construction industry. To further ensure that prescribed goods entering our borders comply with domestic standards, a BOBS office has been opened at the Tlokweng Border.

 

RULE OF LAW

 

34. Madam Speaker, adherence to the rule of law remains a cornerstone to our national development. It is thus encouraging that independent comparative surveys, as well as domestic polling, consistently place us among the best in the world as well as first in Africa in terms of our upholding the rule of law while ensuring the safety and security of all our citizens. These surveys include:

 

• 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, where we ranked first in the category of safety and security;

• World Justice Project’s 2014 Rule of Law Index, where we were ranked 25th in the world as well as first in Africa;

• 2014 Global Peace Index where we were at 36th place, ranking above half of European countries surveyed;

• 2014 Legatum Index for Governance and Rule of Law, where we were ranked 28th in the world; and

• 2013 Global Democracy Index, where besides ranking 35 out of 167 countries we achieved a near perfect score in the area of civil liberties.

 

35.  In light of such reputable findings it is unfortunate to say the least that some individuals, working through foreign as well as domestic media, including rumour mongering on social media, have attempted to instil the perception of Batswana living in fear. This is in an apparent effort to undermine this country’s longstanding and shared record of peace, order and good Government.

 

36. While the mass circulation of false and malicious reports intended to incite undue alarm may be aimed at promoting the political agenda of some, it is at the collective cost of tarnishing the image of the country as a whole. It is also a threat to the economy we all must depend upon for our livelihoods. Such disinformation should therefore be rejected with contempt by all peace-loving Batswana. All citizens, residents and potential visitors to Botswana can be confident that this Government will continue to both abide and uphold the rule of law without fear or favour.

 

37. Let me, nonetheless, also observe that we have not, and shall not, allow past achievements or international accolades to breed complacency as we recognise that, here as elsewhere, criminal activity is constantly evolving and increasingly sophisticated. We therefore remain determined to pursue a zero tolerance approach to all forms of criminal activity, including corruption.

 

38. To counter emerging domestic and trans-national challenges the Police Service has deployed integrated law enforcement strategies to combat all forms of criminality and anti-social behaviour. This has involved an ongoing redirection of resources to deal with violent and intrusive, cross border and cyber based criminal activities.

 

39. Whilst total recorded crime excluding road traffic violations rose by 4.7% during the year 2013, significant reductions were, however, registered in respect of violent and intrusive crimes.  Offences in this category, which included burglary, store breaking, robbery, house breaking, threats to kill, murder, rape, motor vehicle and stock theft, declined by 15.4%.

 

40. Road traffic management poses an additional policing challenge. Analysis of road accidents shows a youth bias, expressed in reckless driving, often aggravated by the influence of alcohol. As a result of the increase in the intensity of road policing initiatives, the number of detected road traffic offences rose by 32.4%, while there was a corresponding decrease in the number of fatal road accidents by 2.6%.

 

41. Madam Speaker, the Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation continues to improve security in the prisons and rehabilitation of offenders. While overcrowding has been a problem in some of the Prison institutions, there has been substantial reduction in congestion since 2008. In June 2014 there were 3824 offenders held in prisons, which was 13% below the authorised holding capacity.

 

42. Madam Speaker, the internal and external challenges of today’s constantly changing security landscape, call for a structurally aligned, strategically focused and adequately resourced, as well as highly trained and motivated, defence force. The BDF will thus continue to evolve its structures and strategies to defend the nation, while continuing to provide assistance to other law enforcement agencies in combating crime, including poaching.

 

ACCESS TO JUSTICE

 

43. Madam Speaker, as was most recently demonstrated in the Judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal upholding the constitutionality of the Standing Orders of this very House, our Judiciary continues to independently and effectively deliver on its constitutional mandate of settling disputes, both large and small, without fear or favour.  This Government will, as always, respect decisions of the Courts and expects all citizens to do the same.  Equally, we must all display tolerance and recognize everyone’s right to approach the Courts for the resolution of any legal issue no matter how strongly we may disagree.

 

44. To improve everyday access to justice several special court projects like the stock theft, maintenance, traffic, small claims and most recently corruption court have been put in place so as to speed up and improve the case disposal rates, while promoting greater access to justice by simplifying court rules and processes to make them more user friendly.  In addition a Court Annexed Mediation will be in place by the end of the current financial year.  This f

Remarks by the President at Nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

November 09, 2014

Roosevelt Room

11:27 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Have a seat, everybody.  Good morning.  As President, I rely on my Cabinet every day to make sure that we are not just getting the job done, but we’re making progress for the American people.  And in a country that is built on the rule of law, there are few offices more important than that of Attorney General.

The Attorney General is the people’s lawyer.  As our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, the person in this position is responsible for enforcing our federal laws, including protecting our civil rights.  Working with the remarkable men and women of the Justice Department, the Attorney General oversees the vast portfolio of cases, including counterterrorism and voting rights; public corruption and white-collar crime; judicial recommendations and policy reviews –- all of which impact on the lives of every American, and shape the life of our nation.

As I said back in September when he decided to step down, I am enormously grateful to Eric Holder for his outstanding service in this position.  He is one of the longest-serving Attorney Generals in American history, and one of our finest.  Eric brought to this job a belief that justice isn’t just an abstract theory, but a living, breathing principle.  It’s about how laws interact with the daily lives of our people -– whether we can make an honest living, whether we can provide for our families; whether we feel safe in our own communities and welcome in our own country; whether the words that the founders set to paper 238 years ago apply to every one of us in our time.

So thanks to Eric, our nation is safer and freer, and more Americans — regardless of race or religion, or gender or creed, or sexual orientation or disability -– receive fair and equal treatment under the law.  I couldn’t be prouder of Eric.  And I couldn’t be prouder that today, I can announce somebody who shares that fierce commitment to equal justice under the law as my nominee for the next Attorney General, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.  (Applause.) 

I also, by the way, want to thank the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, for being here on a Saturday to show his support.  (Applause.)   

It’s pretty hard to be more qualified for this job than Loretta.  Throughout her 30-year career, she has distinguished herself as tough, as fair, an independent lawyer who has twice headed one of the most prominent U.S. Attorney’s offices in the country.  She has spent years in the trenches as a prosecutor, aggressively fighting terrorism, financial fraud, cybercrime, all while vigorously defending civil rights.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Loretta rose from Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York to Chief of the Long Island Office, Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Attorney.  She successfully prosecuted the terrorists who plotted the bomb — plotted to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank and the New York City subway.  She has boldly gone after public corruption, bringing charges against public officials in both parties.  She’s helped secure billions in settlements from some of the world’s biggest banks accused of fraud, and jailed some of New York’s most violent and notorious mobsters and gang members. 

One of her proudest achievements was the civil rights prosecution of the officers involved in the brutal assault of the Haitian immigrant Abner Louima.  Loretta might be the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists, and still has the reputation for being a charming “people person.”  (Laughter.)   

That’s probably because Loretta doesn’t look to make headlines, she looks to make a difference.  She’s not about splash, she is about substance.  I could not be more confident that Loretta will bring her signature intelligence and passion and commitment to our key priorities, including important reforms in our criminal justice system. 

She has consistently proven her leadership and earned the trust and respect of those she serves.  Since 2010, she has been a member of the committee of the U.S. Attorneys across the nation who advise the Attorney General on matters of policy, and she has served as chair of that committee since 2013.  So it’s no wonder that the Senate unanimously confirmed her to be the head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in two separate situations –- once under President Clinton and once under my administration.  And it’s my hope that the Senate will confirm her a third time without delay.

At every stage in her career, Loretta has followed the principles of fairness, equality, and justice that she absorbed as a young girl.  She was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the year before black students there sat down at a whites-only lunch counter, helping to spark a movement that would change the course of this country. 

The daughter of a school librarian and a fourth-generation Baptist minister — which meant that she knew when to be quiet — (laughter) — that’s a little intimidating, being the daughter of a librarian and a minister — (laughter) — Loretta rode on her father’s shoulders to his church, where students would meet to organize anti-segregation boycotts.  She was inspired by stories about her grandfather, a sharecropper in the 1930s, who helped folks in his community who got in trouble with the law and had no recourse under the Jim Crow system.  I know that if he were here today, he would be just as proud of her as I’m sure her husband Stephen is.  I want to thank Stephen, Loretta’s stepson Ryan, her stepdaughter Kia, and her other family members who came here today.  We appreciate you guys agreeing to share her with the American people a little bit longer. 

Loretta has spent her life fighting for fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy.  I can think of no better public servant to be our next Attorney General.  Let me introduce to you, Ms. Loretta Lynch.  (Applause.) 

MS. LYNCH:  Thank you, everyone.  And thank you, first of all, Mr. President, for that kind introduction.  But most importantly, thank you also for your faith in me in asking me to succeed an Attorney General whom I admire, and to lead the Department that I love.

Now, no one gets to this place, this room, this podium, this moment by themselves.  I also must thank Attorney General Eric Holder for your support and your friendship over the years, as well as by leading by example, and always, always pushing this Department to live up to its name.  And I want to thank Chairman Leahy, senior officials of the Department of Justice, and members of the Cabinet for being here today.

To my colleagues in the U.S. Attorney community and throughout the Department, on whose strength and wisdom I lean every day, thank all of you, as well, for your support both now and in all the work that we have ahead. 

And to my beloved office, the Eastern District of New York, my professional home — you have twice now given me the privilege of being able to serve you, and to focus on nothing — nothing — but the protection of the American people.  It has been a joy.  It has been an honor.  And I will carry you with me wherever I go.  

And of course, to my wonderful family, several of whom are here with me today, all of whom are always with me in love and support — most especially my parents, who could not be here today but are watching, whose every thought and sacrifice has always been for their children.  They have supported me in all of my endeavors as I strive to live up to their example of service. 

The Department of Justice is the only Cabinet Department named for an ideal.  And this is actually appropriate, because our work is both aspirational, and grounded in gritty reality.  It’s both ennobling, and it’s both profoundly challenging.

Today, I stand before you so thrilled, and, frankly, so humbled to have the opportunity to lead this group of wonderful people who work all day and well into the night to make that ideal a manifest reality, all as part of their steadfast protection of the citizens of this country.

Mr. President, thank you again for the faith that you’ve placed in me.  I pledge today to you and to the American people that if I have the honor of being confirmed by the Senate, I will wake up every morning with the protection of the American people my first thought.  And I will work every day to safeguard our citizens, our liberties, our rights, and this great nation which have given so much to me and my family.

I thank you again, Mr. President and Mr. Attorney General, and all of you, for being here.  (Applause.) 

Q    — the release of Americans from North Korea today?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it’s a wonderful day for them and their families.  And obviously, we’re very grateful for their safe return.  And I appreciate Director Clapper doing a great job on what was obviously a challenging mission.

END     11:37 A.M. EST

Press Releases: Joint Statement on U.S.-Germany Cyber Bilateral Meeting

The text of the following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on the occasion of the US-Germany Cyber Bilateral Meeting June 26, 2014.

Begin Text:

The Governments of the United States and Germany held a Cyber Bilateral Meeting in Berlin, Germany on June 26, 2014.

This third annual U.S.-Germany Cyber Bilateral Meeting reinforced our long-standing alliance by highlighting our pre-existing collaboration on many key cyber issues over the course of the last decade and identifying additional areas for awareness and alignment. The U.S.-Germany Cyber Bilateral Meeting continued and further expanded its “whole-of-government” approach, furthering cooperation on a wide range of cyber issues and our collaborative engagement on both strategic and operational objectives.

Strategic objectives include affirming common approaches in Internet governance, Internet freedom, and international cyber security; partnering with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure; and pursuing coordination efforts on cyber capacity building in third countries. The discussions of Internet governance issues focused on continued efforts to bolster support for the multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance, particularly after the successful conclusion of the NETmundial Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The United States and Germany will continue their close cooperation on these issues as the preparations for Internet Governance Forum 9 in Istanbul, Turkey are underway, and as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is convening the multistakeholder community to develop a proposal to transition the stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function from the U.S. Government.

Discussions of the Information Society issues also included the preparations for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan, Korea in October and the United Nations General Assembly’s 10 year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) focusing on development and continued efforts to realize a global, open, inclusive Internet for all. Additional strategic objectives included expanding the Freedom Online Coalition, and the application of norms and responsible state behavior in cyberspace, particularly as the UN Group of Governmental Experts is poised to start its next effort and building on the successful 2013 consensus report affirming the applicability of international law to state behavior in cyberspace.

Operational objectives comprise bilateral cybersecurity cooperation measures such as exchanging information on cyber issues of mutual concern such as critical information infrastructure protection and identifying greater cooperation measures on detecting and mitigating cyber incidents, raising awareness, combating cybercrime, and implementing the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE’s) confidence-building measures to reduce risk,

The bilateral meeting took place the day before the U.S.-Germany Cyber Dialogue, a multistakeholder event organized jointly by the German Foreign Office and the U.S. Department of State and focused on big data, privacy, security, economic innovation, and international cyber cooperation. The Cyber Dialogue will be hosted by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier; John Podesta, Counselor to President Obama will also provide keynote remarks. A high level panel of both German and U.S. experts will discuss big data, privacy, security, economic innovation, and international cyber cooperation. Participants from government, industry, civil society and academia will have the chance to discuss these issues and provide input for potential solutions.

The U.S.-Germany Cyber Bilateral Meeting was hosted by Ambassador Dirk Brengelmann, Commissioner for International Cyber Policy and the German delegation included representatives from the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Ministry of Defense, the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology, and the Federal Office for Information Security. The U.S. delegation was led by Secretary of State’s Coordinator for Cyber Issues, Christopher Painter, and included representatives from the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President.

Coordinator Painter and Ambassador Brengelmann agreed to hold the next annual Cyber Bilateral Meeting in Washington, DC in mid-2015 again in conjunction with a multistakeholder cyber dialogue.