RSA Conference 2007: Congress should improve grades on privacy legislation; research and development funding also lacking

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Cyber Security Industry Alliance research has shown that likely voters — both Democrat and Republican — think new privacy legislation should be enacted, Liz Gasster, the organization's acting executive director said today at RSA Conference 2007.

Gasster said that polls taken by the CSIA over the past two years show voters of both parties believe Congress isn’t doing enough to protect their privacy.

The CSIA has had to reinvigorate educational efforts since Congress changed hands to Democratic control last month, said Gasster.

"Now that there is a new Congress, I think that the educational process is starting up again," she said.

Gasster spoke at the leading information security conference today along with Adam Rak, Symantec’s senior director of government and corporate affairs.

Gasster pointed out a recently released report that gave Congress "D" grades on undertaking information security initiatives, but praised the legislative body for ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

Rak warned that the new Democratic majority in the Senate and House has other priorities than information security issues.

"Certainly the Iraq war will be at the forefront," he said. "And the Democrats have other priorities such as raising the minimum wage."

Both Gasster and Rak said that federal funding for information security research and development was too low, and the funding that is conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense is usually classified.

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