Saturday, April 04, 2009

Pending US Legislation to Beef Up Cybersecurity

The US government is proposing strong action to beef up cybersecurity defenses. Legislation proposed by the Senate would give the president unprecedented authority, for example, to unilaterally shut down networks under attack.

The proposal is based on the results of a study last year by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and would impose mandatory government standards on both the public and private sector for certifying network security.

Crafters of the legislation were Sen. John Rockfeller and Sen. Olympia Snowe with input from the White House, which hasn't officially endorsed the legislation yet. The legislation would create a National Cybersecurity Advisor (NCA), reporting directly to the president.

Rockfeller was quoted in the Washington Post, saying it was more than just a military or intelligence issue. "It suddenly gets into the realm of traffic lights and rail networks and water and electricity."

Supporters of the measure said it was long overdue, but critics say it gives the government too much power over private telecommunications and could threaten privacy, according to this post on The Last Watchdog, an Internet security blog.

Obama's security advisors are still in the middle of their 60-day review of American cybersecurity, another part of the White House's actions to improve cybersecurity.

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