The timing of this announcement is odd, especially when you consider the ongoing struggle with CISPA, ACTA, and whatever SOPA derivatives remain, but what we have is the retirement of Howard Schmidt, previously the White House’s Cybersecurity Coordinator.
When he accepted the position, Schmidt agreed to a two-year term, which was extended by six months, thanks in large part to the SOPA/CISPA issues that gripped the public earlier this year. In fact, Schmidt was still an active spokesperson for the White House earlier this month, reaffirming the White House’s anti-CISPA position. Schmidt cites a desire to spend more time with his family, while pursuing a career teaching about the tech industry.
Schmidt, according to the Washington Post, will be succeeded by Michael Daniel, who also works for the White House staff as the chief of the budget office’s intelligence department.
While Schmidt did reinforce the White House’s position on CISPA–a threat to personal privacy–he did offer support for the Joe Lieberman-sponsored Cybersecurity Act of 2012:
White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt indicated that while he would still recommend that President Obama veto CISPA, the Administration is now pushing for passage in the Senate of the Lieberman-Collins bill, mainly because of a package of regulations it contains for critical infrastructure, like the electrical grid and transportation systems, that is not in CISPA.
On Twitter, the reaction, thankfully, hasn’t been trend-worthy, but there have been a few notable acknowledgements of Schmidt’s imminent departure:
#cybersecurity coordinator. Played vital role shaping country’s cyber policies @ critical time
Your reaction to Schmidt’s departure will largely depend on your point of view concerning government-based cybersecurity measures. If you’re of the mind that the United States government is not capable of regulating the Internet, Schmidt’s retirement will probably go unnoticed, if not celebrated. If, however, you think the government is quite capable of making the Internet safe and sound for all users, his presence may be missed.