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President Mulls Issuing of Cybersecurity Executive Order

By:  Joe Wolverton, II
08/08/2012
       
President Mulls Issuing of Cybersecurity Executive Order

Although Senate Republicans rejected cybersecurity legislation last week, President Obama may yet rule on the issue, once again bypassing the legislative branch and the separation of powers set out in the Constitution.  According to a report in The Hill, President Obama is mulling the issuing of an executive order to create “law” where Congress failed to do so.

Although Senate Republicans rejected cybersecurity legislation last week, President Obama may yet rule on the issue, once again bypassing the legislative branch and the separation of powers set out in the Constitution.

According to a report in The Hill, President Obama is mulling the issuing of an executive order to create “law” where Congress failed to do so.

 

“In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed. Moving forward, the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in an email.

 

The demise of the bill in the Senate was not unforeseen. As The New American reported late last month:

 

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 has been the subject of some criticism as privacy advocates feared that the bill would pose too many threats to the constitutional rights of the American people.

 

Likewise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and IBM sent out letters to show their opposition for the original bill, asserting that it would overwhelm the industry with regulations.

 

In response to the criticism, Senator Lieberman reformed the original bill.

 

For example, the updated version of the bill reflects changes to the provision to assign the Department of Homeland Security the role of creating mandatory cybersecurity standards for infrastructure industries.

 

The newer version of the bill does not include language for “mandatory, regulatory sections,” but still requires a creation of industry best practice standards for the purposes of protecting critical infrastructure, but rather than making the adoption of those standards mandatory, the owners of the critical infrastructure adopt “voluntary” standards. The bill offers incentives to adopt those standards, such as liability protection, and access to threat information.

 

Some contend that the revisions are not ideal, however, as it gives the government the power to deny threat information to critical infrastructure owners who choose not to comply with the voluntary standards. Likewise, the incentives are too insignificant to fully incentivize any company to adopt the standards.

 

Click here to read the entire article.

 

Photo: President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign fundraiser in Stamford, Conn., Aug., 6, 2012 : AP Images

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