Executive order drafted following failed Cybersecurity Act

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The Obama administration hopes to issue a cyber security executive order similar to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, killed by the Senate.

On Friday, Techdirt.com published what it described as a leaked draft of the White House's 19-page executive order, which outlines the security objectives proposed for critical infrastructure protection.

According to the draft, the order calls for a revised federal architecture to “enhance the protection and resilience of critical infrastructure,” as well as an “information exchange framework,” in hopes to enable collaboration between the private industry and the government.

In addition, the proposed order gives the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversight regarding the implementation of the recommended changes.

The executive order would be similar to the White-house backed Cybersecurity Act of 2012 that was struck down by Senate Republicans. The largely Democrat-supported bill would have incentivized companies that operate critical infrastructure to meet a series of security best practices as part of a voluntary program.

Critics of the bill were primarily concerned with its shortcomings in addressing privacy issues, but the legislation was re-introduced to include privacy concessions and rid the enforcement oversight it originally gave to the DHS.

A letter released on Friday written by John Brennan, national security adviser to the president, written to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, confirms that the White House is working on the order.

“Following congressional inaction, the president is determined to use existing executive branch authorities to protect our nation against cyber threats,” Brennan wrote.

In a recent sponsored Washington Post editorial, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) blasted the idea of an executive order.

“Unilateral action in the form of government mandates on the private sector creates an adversarial relationship instead of a cooperative one,” the senators wrote.
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