The conversation around cybersecurity on the campaign trail largely focused on keeping elections safe, but the candidates have been slightly less straightforward on plans for the next term.
The differences in cyber policy between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden rests on the classic party divide of just how much the American government should interfere in industry and foreign relations.
The candidates see value in protecting critical infrastructure and building a strong cyber workforce. Issues such as whether the federal government should get involved in data privacy and how the U.S. should approach adversaries varies.
Protecting critical infrastructure against foreign threats
The candidates are interested in efforts to keep American critical infrastructure safe from cyberattacks, with differing approaches to the task.
An early Trump executive order called on the federal government to strengthen the cybersecurity of its networks and critical infrastructure. The White House’s national cyber strategy aims to define cybersecurity standards across industries. 
Trump includes a “cybersecurity defense system” in the foreign policy section of his 2020 platform. The president and his administration are outspoken about cyberthreats from Chinese-sponsored hackers as the U.S. looks to implement 5G infrastructure. 
Biden wants to improve cybersecurity on infrastructure such as the electric grid and to maintain American capabilities to deter cyberthreats, according to his platform. “We will work with other countries — and the private sector — to protect individuals’ data and defend critical infrastructure, including the global financial system,” according to the platform. 
Rather than Trump’s approach to foriegn interference, which relies on facing off directly with cyberthreats, Biden is planning to work with American allies, partners and the private sector to secure 5G and U.S. infrastructure.