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President Obama cites tech jobs, cyber threats in State of the Union speech

CNETAnalysis: President Obama began his first State of the Union address since winning reelection by declaring that there is much progress to report, including bringing tech jobs back from overseas. Specifically, Obama called out Intel and Apple, two American companies known for outsourcing manufacturing to Asia. “After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home,” he said a third of the way through his speech. “And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again,” Obama said, noting the insourcing plan announced by Apple CEO Tim Cook late last year. As the President made this remark, a smiling Cook looked on, having been invited to the State of the Union as one of Michelle Obama’s guests. Obama said that manufacturers like Apple and Intel have added 500,000 jobs over the past three years after the country has shed jobs for 10 years. Recognizes cyber-attacks in foreign policy agenda Toward the end of Obama’s 60-minute SOTU, he turned to foreign policy and spent a significant amount of time focusing on cyber-attacks. “America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks,” he said, lumping it into the same section as Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, and al-Qaeda. “We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets.” Obama didn’t single out one single country, but reports have suggested that China has led the most recent wave of cyber espionage . Hackers have targeted The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Twitter, with the possibility of affecting even the President’s Twitter account . While this isn’t new, as Google has also been in the sights of Chinese hackers in the past, the threat appears to be growing. Cybersecurity executive order s! igned today To counter the rash of cyberattacks, Obama signed the “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity” executive order earlier today. “I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy.” As with a lot of his State of the Union speeches, he publicly urged Congress to follow his lead, in this case asking members to pass legislation to secure the country’s networks and deter attacks. “Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems,” said Obama, bluntly laying out the dangers. “We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.”

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