U.S. cybersecurity plans lagging, critics say

interns Contributor
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More than a year after President Obama made a White House speech proclaiming that the protection of computer networks was a national priority, the federal government is still grappling with key questions about how to secure its computer systems as well as private networks deemed critical to U.S. security.

The administration unveiled a cyberspace policy review last year, and Obama appointed a White House cyber coordinator to synchronize the government’s efforts in December.

But the administration is still debating whether it needs new legal authorities – to strengthen the government’s ability to defend private sector networks, for example – or whether existing law allows such actions. Critics also say that officials have not adequately assuaged privacy concerns or determined the extent to which the government should regulate or collaborate with the private sector to ensure that telecommunications firms, electric utilities and other critical industries are protected against hackers.

Congress, meanwhile, has crafted dozens of bills with varying prescriptions to improve the country’s cybersecurity – including one that would place new security requirements, enforceable by the federal government, on certain elements of critical private sector networks – but the White House has yet to weigh in with a position on any of them.

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