GOP Sens.: White House Eyeing Cybersecurity Exec Order
Say that would establish adversarial relationship between government and private sector
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/14/2012 10:30:11 AM
"The White House is preparing an executive order on cybersecurity that unilaterally imposes more mandates and regulations on the private economy," wrote Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) and Saxby Chambliss (Ga.). "That's the wrong solution because it cannot fully address the one area most critical to improving cybersecurity-enhancing the sharing of cyber-threat information among private firms and with the government."
Republicans and Democrats were unable to come to an agreement on cybersecurity legislation that both agreed is needed, divided over the extent of the government's role in overseeing/enforcing guidelines for cybersecurity protection and information sharing.
The Republicans warn that the president's mandate would create an "adversarial" relationship between government and the private sector instead of a cooperative one.
The executive order would be along the lines of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which was primarily backed by Democrats, rather than the SECURE IT Act backed by the Senators and other Republicans, as well as cable operators. The latter bill focused on removing obstacles to information sharing, including providing some legal immunity to companies that share the info. The Cybersecurity Act was focused on information security and privacy protection guidelines that the government would oversee in some capacity.
"If we are serious about improving information sharing, we must encourage candid dialogue between the government and business," the senators wrote. "This will not occur unless we also ensure that the information the federal government receives isn't then used to impose new and extraneous regulations. Businesses should not have to choose between sharing cyber-threat information and facing a regulatory backlash."
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