New Cyber Security Bill Could Increase Power of President and DHS

Introduced by ranking Senate members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, S.3480 is intended to create an Office of Cyber Policy in the executive branch of the government, confirmed by the Senate and ultimately reporting to the president. Senators Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln and Tom Carper introduced the bill the publicly on June 10, and a critical part of the bill is that critical infrastructure networks such as electricity grids, financial systems and telecommunications networks need to cooperate with the Office of Cyber Policy.

So, what does this mean? According to eWeek, if a new security bill makes it through Congress, CIOs could be answering to a higher level of management than the CEO, chairman or board of directors. The new bill allows for emergency powers to be granted to the president of the United States when critical infrastructure is threatened.

This top-down collaborative approach is not sitting well with many in the technology industry. “The notion that the government has a better idea than the owners and operators about how to manage risk is not even reasonable,” Robert Dix, vice president of Government Affairs and Critical Infrastructure Protection at Juniper Networks, told “The paradigm needs to change from this kind of top-down push to a collaborative approach.”

What do you think? What happens if a BP oil spill-like cyber attack occurs? Wouldn’t you want the president to have more authority and step in to fix the situation. If this did happen, perhaps it could be an opportunity to show that President Obama and government can do better in crisis situations — unlike what is happening now with the BP debacle. We welcome all thoughts and feedback.

You can also read more here at the ITAC blog:

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