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Venture capitalist: Cyberwar is not a war you ever win

In the high-stakes battle between security and privacy, there's no winning — but there should be cooperation, according to one venture capitalist.

"It's not a war you ever win," Ted Schlein of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers told CNBC. "I think we have to take the fight a little bit to the bad guys. This is a little bit more of a conversation around how to be more pre-emptive with attacks that are coming rather than what we have been, which is reactive as an industry."

Schlein is one of many to join the rally cry in support of technology company Apple, which has resisted requests to hack one of its own devices on behalf of government terrorism investigators.

Though they are divided, Silicon Valley and Washington must find a common path forward, or risk losing out to the world's hackers, Schlein told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Wednesday.

"I certainly know [Apple CEO] Tim Cook would like to help the country around national security," Schlein said. "Can we get the public discourse — and therefore our politicians — to focus on something very specific on how to solve this particular problem, rather than some general-purpose new law that could be used in ways that set precedents that everyone is going to be scared of?"

Aaron Levie, Box founder and CEO, argued in Apple's favor in a blog post last week, where he cited an op-ed written by former Director of the National Security Agency Mike McConnell and former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in The Washington Post.

"I think over the long run, broad collaboration does win and you have already seen this," Levie told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Wednesday. "This is why it's important to zoom back and look at the overall fight against these issues between both the technology industry and D.C. You have seen recently that Twitter has been shutting down a tremendous number of Twitter accounts that proponents are spreading propaganda from ISIS. That's a collaboration between Twitter and the government."

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will join his new Defense Innovation Advisory Board. This is Carter's latest effort to increase collaboration between the U.S. military and the tech industry. Among other things, the board will advise the Pentagon.

Levie praised the move, but said that Congress and international governments, not just the courts, should ultimately weigh in on the San Bernardino, California, shooting investigation involving Apple.

"There's no question that this year, particularly given this election year and particularly given the kind of characters in the election process and all of the noise around this, this is not a year that is well set up for strong political discourse," Levie said. "However, this is something that ultimately has to be decided through collaboration between our regulators ... and the technology industry."