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President Obama Seeks Enhanced Cyber Security

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

President Barack Obama has renewed his pitch to enhance cyber security within United States. Highlighting the recent high profile cyber-attacks, including the attack on Sony Pictures’ infrastructure, the President said that foreign governments and criminals were checking American computer systems and networks for weaknesses every single day and the recent attacks have served another reminder about the threats faced by critical systems that are connected to the internet. While lamenting the fact that the government and private sector organizations are still not working together on the issue, he stressed the need to stay ahead of the people who mean nothing but harm to the interests of the American government and people.

While the American Congress has been trying to pass legislation regarding the sharing of data related to security breaches between the corporates and the government, privacy concerns raised by liberty groups as well as liability issues raised by the companies that were victims of the attacks have prevented enactment of any such law. To address the liability and privacy issues, President Obama has proposed a new legislation that offers liability protection to organizations that share information about cyber-attacks with the government without asking them to share any kind of personal data with the authorities.

President Obama’s proposed legislation would give sweeping powers to law enforcement agencies and help them to investigate and prosecute cyber crimes in a much better way. The legislation would also act as a deterrent against the theft of personal data since once enacted, it would allow legal authorities to punish the sellers of botnets and credit card information. The law would also make it mandatory for the companies who were subject to cyber-attacks to reveal whether the personal data of their customers was compromised within a period of 30 days from the date of the discovery of the security breach.

Civil liberty advocates have welcomed the proposed legislation that would allow companies to strip personal data from the information that they needed to share with the government in the event of a cyber-attack. They have also supported the demand for a new law that would govern the storage and usage of shared data by the federal authorities. However, they remained wary of the intelligence agencies that could access such data without any oversight and also pointed out that several gaps remained within the proposed legislation that should be addressed before it was turned into a law.

President Obama’s latest push shows his commitment towards the matter of cyber security. The President has identified cyber security as an area where co-operation with the opposition parties remains a possibility. It must also be kept in mind that the President has made cyber security as one of his top priorities for the year 2015. He had proposed a similar legislation way back in 2011 but it was voted down by the Congress. In addition to introducing the bill in front of the Congress, the government would also try to drum up the support for the legislation at the cyber security summit scheduled to be held at the Stanford University in mid-February.

February 24, 2015

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