White House will soon revive cybersecurity legislation push

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:10pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington February 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A senior adviser to President Barack Obama said the White House will soon renew efforts to push cybersecurity legislation through Congress, though he foresaw an uphill battle given the failure of the last attempt.

Daniel said the White House has begun drafting "key legislative principles" for a new bill that it believes can pass both the House and Senate this time.

"We very much want a bill," White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel told Reuters while in San Francisco to meet industry experts and business leaders at a security conference. But he added: "I don't want to leave anybody with an impression that we underestimate the challenges."

"We will do our best to work with Congress," he added. "You will see that develop over the next couple of weeks to months," he said.

Cybersecurity legislation backed by the Obama administration died in the Senate in November amid fierce opposition from businesses that complained about over-regulation.

That bill would have increased information-sharing between intelligence agencies and private companies, with some privacy protections. It also would have set voluntary standards for businesses that control electric grids, water treatment plants and other essential facilities.

In the absence of overarching legislation, the Obama administration will pursue other means to improve cybersecurity, he said. Those included implementing an executive order the president signed this month that seeks to better protect critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

The order directs federal authorities to improve information-sharing on cyber-threats - including some that may be classified - with companies that provide or support critical infrastructure.

"It would be a mistake to assume you can't make any progress in the absence of legislation," he said.

The principles that the White House will support in new legislation include requiring that a civilian agency must be in charge of information-sharing, Daniel said.

Last year's Senate plan likewise would have put the Department of Homeland Security squarely in charge, though it could turn to the military's National Security Agency for assistance.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Menn and Deborah Charles; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Comments (3)
AdamSmith wrote:
Who are the shareholders behind the corporations being hacked?

Any business grouping of humans sitting at a table, from tribal times to today, from small-town tiny partnerships to multinational corporations — naturally tend to say, in their meetings, “It’s us against the world.” And it is.

After all, life itself is a competitive struggle. And business is especially so.

The PROBLEM is that the populace of any given country erroneously believe that the corporations that are legally chartered in their country have Patriotic notions.

A patriotic corporation? Nothing could be further from the truth. Corporation chartered in America — like Goldman, Exxon, IBM, Apple, Intel, Google. Boeing — are legally created, by a legal document, to do what’s in the interest of their shareholders, period.

That’s why you see these American-chartered companies routinely outsourcing American jobs, selling and divulging American technology to foreign partners, selling weapons to foreign governments, importing low-wage foreign H1B Visa engineers to replace American engineers, and allowing the foreign engineers to take their newly learned skills back to their home countries to compete against America.

In short, corporations, whether American-chartered, Spanish-chartered, or Mexican-chartered, have zero patriotic notions. Patriotism is not part of the human-corporate-animal. How could we expect otherwise?

All large corporations doing business in America are not here to do the American people a favor. Rather the American people are its prey.

I am rooting for the hackers.

The hacker phenomenon is a necessary thing. The hackers, the one’s on the people’s side, will perhaps, in one way, save us, the American middle class, from being completely devoured by modern multinational corporation, the fast-evolving, highly dangerous, sharp-clawed current super-organism of Earth.

Feb 25, 2013 8:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Burns0011 wrote:
If you mean that foreign engineers are only paid $70,000 a year instead of the American being paid $72,000 a year, then yes, they’re “low paid”. The actual FACT is that there aren’t enough engineers entering the degree programs and graduating to meet the demand.

Thanks to the “anti-intellectual” attitudes of USA high schools and general disdain for any class that’s “hard”, there are fewer and fewer students entering college with even the basic reading, writing, and math skills needed.

Feb 25, 2013 11:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:
“I am rooting for the hackers.

The hacker phenomenon is a necessary thing. The hackers, the one’s on the people’s side, will perhaps, in one way, save us, the American middle class, from being completely devoured by modern multinational corporation, the fast-evolving, highly dangerous, sharp-clawed current super-organism of Earth.”

Perhaps the most delusional post I’ve ever read. Most people I know, honest everyday working people, are saving for the day they can retire. AND we are the shareholders. Investing our hard earned cash in Mutual Funds, which are comprised of hundreds of corporations. The corporation I work for adds money to those funds for me to help with growing my nest egg. Hackers aren’t on the side of the people. They are in it for themselves. AS a member of the upper middle class, I don’t want, need or appreciate the activities of hackers. They are the virus not the corporations. Apple couldn’t exist without the masses buying their products. And without the ability for my retirement fund to grow through these companies as I reach my retirement years, retirement would less comfortable. And there is a wealth of competition between the corporations. Each one improving and developing new products or improving old ones to ENTICE not prey upon consumers. Technological advances in this country would be at a virtual stand still without this process. Crawl back under whatever delusional, sour grapes rock you came from.

Feb 26, 2013 1:13am EST  --  Report as abuse
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