Debate: A White House order on cyber security

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Debate: A White House order on cyber security would be a step in the right direction for safeguarding networks.

FOR

Richard C. LaMagna, president, LaMagna and Associates

State-sponsored cyber attacks require a state-led response. President Obama's planned executive order (E.O.) in response to the defeated U.S. Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (CSA) will allow federal agencies to propose new security standards for critical infrastructure industries. It will also create a council of federal agencies, led by the Department of Homeland Security, to report on cyber threats, many state-sponsored by China. 

The [failed cyber security] bill called for voluntary standardized security practices, liability protection, priority assistance and access to classified information for companies that control the nation's critical infrastructure. 

 Critics argue the provisions are hallmarks of an intrusive government, that liability protection is inadequate, that non-participating companies would be penalized and that voluntary standards will stifle innovation. 

Such ideological myopia is both wrong and dangerous. The federal government must play a lead role in protecting the country and its institutions.

AGAINST

Liz Wright, principal systems engineer, Lockheed Martin

The business of government is government, not private sector. Government safeguarding government assets is appropriate; however, declaring private  sector part of the government “critical infrastructure” is a nebulous definition at best. 

Collaboration among partners is laudable given an equal footing, but when one partner holds authority or provides direction to other partners, the collaborative facade evaporates. Information sharing is desirable among teammates; dialogue is bi-directional. Open communication is key. 

Cyber security needs responsible, accountable, technically savvy individuals to drive vision and create the way forward, not politicians who drive meaningless mandates. In the ever-changing landscape where cyber space meets business, private sector in America still means businesses are accountable to shareholders, employees, and customers. 

Who knows business best? Who protects our assets? He who owns a thing, controls the thing. That's how democracy works. 


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