Washington

Republicans: Cybersecurity Exec Order Could Threaten Multistakeholder Model

Warn President against unilateral action they say could send wrong signal abroad 10/11/2012 03:01:09 PM Eastern

Some top House and Senate Republicans are
warning the President not to take unilateral action on cybersecurity,
suggesting it could threaten the multistakeholder model of 'net governance both
Republicans and Democrats support.

In
a letter to the president,
the legislators warned him not to issue an executive order on cybersecurity.

They
argue that the order would send the wrong signal to countries like China, Russia, and Iran, which are proposing
that the International Telecommunications Union adopt a more top-down,
government governance model for the Internet when it meets for a telecom treaty
conference in Dubai this December. The
White House is on the record as opposing any attempts to weaken the
multistakeholder governance model, as are Republicans and Democrats in the
House. The legislators point out that both the House and Senate passed
resolutions in this Congress supporting that multistakeholder model.

"An
ill-advised executive order would undermine those important, collaborative
efforts," they wrote. "While we have not seen your proposed executive
order," they wrote, "multiple reports suggest that it would authorize
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine what constitutes
critical infrastructure and then adopt certain standards for how such
infrastructure is managed to guard against cyberthreats. This is the wrong
approach."

John
Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism,
confirmed to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) last month that the White House is
considering stepping in

after it appeared no legislation would pass in this Congress.

"Following
congressional inaction, the President is determined to use existing executive
branch authorities to protect our nation against cyber threats," including
"exploring an executive order to direct executive branch departments and
agencies to secure the nation's critical infrastructure by working with the
private sector," Brennan said in the letter.

After
the Senate failed to vote on a cybersecurity bill, the White House drew calls
from some Democrats, including Rockefeller, to step in and mandate
cybersecurity protection measures given that both sides agreed attacks from
hackers, hacktivists and state sponsored entities was an ongoing threat.

Signatories
to Thursday's letter included Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House
Energy & Commerce Committee; Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chair of the
Communications Subcommittee; subcommittee member Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.),
and Senators Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Sen. Mike Lee
(R-Utah).

 

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