Obama signs cybersecurity order

The executive order asks agencies to explore whether they can require companies to adopt security standards

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to share cyberthreat information with private companies and to create a cybersecurity framework focused on reducing risks to companies providing critical infrastructure.

The cybersecurity framework would be voluntary for some operators of critical infrastructure, but the order also requires federal agencies overseeing critical infrastructure to identify the operators and industries most at risk and to explore whether the government can require those companies to adopt the framework.

The agencies will focus on critical infrastructure "where a cybersecurity incident could reasonably result in a catastrophic regional or national effect on public health or safety, economic security, or national security," said the order, signed by Obama just before his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening.

Enemies of the U.S. want to "sabotage" the country's power grid, financial networks and air-traffic control systems, Obama said during the speech. "We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy," he said.

Obama called on the U.S. Congress to pass additional laws to secure U.S. networks, although he didn't lay out details.

The order tasks the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to lead in the creation of the cybersecurity framework for operators of critical infrastructure, with the framework based on "voluntary consensus standards and industry best practices." The framework will be developed with public input, the order said.

The order also directs the secretary of homeland security, the attorney general, the director of national intelligence and the secretary of defense to share cyberthreat information with private companies in the U.S.

One Republican lawmaker raised concerns that the order will create new regulations for U.S. businesses. Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, also questioned Obama's authority to give businesses the legal protections they need to share cyberthreat information.

"I am concerned that the order could open the door to increased regulations that would stifle innovation, burden businesses, and fail to keep pace with evolving cyberthreats," McCaul, of Texas, said in a statement.

Two lawmakers are expected to introduce a cyberthreat sharing bill on Wednesday, McCaul noted.

McCaul said he's pleased that the order focuses on sharing cyberthreat information.

The American Civil Liberties Union praised Obama's approach, saying it would better protect privacy than the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), to be introduced Wednesday. The order focuses on established fair information practices, the group said.

"The president's executive order rightly focuses on cybersecurity solutions that don't negatively impact civil liberties," ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson said in a statement. "Greasing the wheels of information sharing from the government to the private sector is a privacy-neutral way to distribute critical cyber information."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Tags American Civil Liberties UnionMichelle RichardsonsecurityregulationU.S. CongressMichael McCaulU.S. National Institute of Standards and TechnologyBarack Obamagovernment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?