Cybersecurity in the Private Sector

Issues in Science and Technology, (Fall 2011), pp. 58-62

5 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2013

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: Fall 2011


The U.S. government and the private sector (upon which it greatly relies for security work) regularly experience a significant number of cyberattacks perpetrated by foreign agents. However, despite the dangers posed by these attacks — both actual and potential — little has been done to reduce the vulnerability of U.S. digital infrastructure. This paper attempts to explain this inaction by pointing to various economic and political tendencies within the United States. First, it argues that the incentives structure of the market fails to yield adequate protection, as defending against cyberattacks is associated with two categories of market failure (freeriding and externalization of risk). Next, the paper describes the ways in which corporate influence has thwarted government efforts to curb cyberattacks. Finally, it argues that libertarian ideology plays a significant role in undermining the sort of regulation necessary to secure the digital infrastructure.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, Cybersecurity in the Private Sector (Fall 2011). Issues in Science and Technology, (Fall 2011), pp. 58-62. Available at SSRN:

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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