DHS chief says she doesn't use e-mail

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Napolitano says "Some would call me a Luddite."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is a key player in national cybersecurity efforts, said on Friday she doesn't use e-mail.

"Don't laugh, but I just don't use e-mail at all," she said during a discussion at a Cybersecurity Summit hosted by National Journal and Government Executive. She didn't explain what communications tools she does use.

President Obama, who appointed Napolitano, broke precedent by carrying his own BlackBerry device. But in response to a question about her personal cybersecurity practices, Napolitano said she avoids many online services. "I don't have any of my own accounts. Some would call me a Luddite," she said.

Napolitano is at the forefront of government efforts to better secure American computer networks. A draft executive order is being developed that could boost government oversight of certain private networks, but Obama has yet to review or sign off on the draft, she said at Friday's event.

Legislation aimed at giving DHS more authority to enforce security standards for some private networks faltered in Congress over the summer. Napolitano said that legislation is still needed and that she doesn't see the proposals as government overreach.

"I don't view this as the government coming and telling you what to do. Far from it," she said. Any standards would be administered within a partnership between businesses and government, Napolitano said.

(Image via Markus Gann/Shutterstock.com)