Compliance Management, Government Regulations, Network Security

Big egos block important cyber bill

Like many U.S. voters come Nov. 10, I'll be enlisting the oft-refrained practice of choosing the lesser of two evils when it comes to voting for my next president. Well, either that or I'll repeat what I did last election and simply write in a candidate in whom I have a modicum of faith and maybe, just maybe a little trust. Truth is that I'll probably apply that same way of thinking to the congressional races hitting at the same time, as well. 

My point is that whatever I choose to do, it's as clear to me now just as it was four years ago that our two-party system is kind of failing me as a U.S. citizen. Sure, I can look to another of our political parties beyond the announced and mainstream Democrats or Republicans if I want, but often they too don't really provide the honesty, practicality and commitment to their said promises that my naive little mind expects in our elected officials. 

In our reality nowadays, the typical scenario sees most of the guys raising boo-coo bucks trumping all over this fine country of ours making and frequently keeping the commitments they quietly articulate off-camera to the major donors of their campaigns. You know the ones of which I speak. I'm talking about all those terribly irritating special interest groups representing segments of our population that couldn't care less about folks like our aging parents, our out-of-work friends and family members, still other groups of people who have been marginalized for far too long, or just the regular work-a-day folks like you or me who simply want some straight-ahead leaders to do the right thing when making decisions that affect the average citizens of this country. Sadly, basic moral principles seem to escape them. 

“More than 70 amendments, in fact, need to be figured out to overcome yet another stall on yet another valid bill.”

– Illena Armstrong, VP and editorial director of SC Magazine

And, even more disappointingly, that applies to everything from basic social justice matters to issues of IT security. One need only look to the recent discussions surrounding a long-debated cyber security bill that would, for example, see public disclosure and notification of breaches by companies when citizens' critical data is compromised. Implacable, politically motivated positions by some senators saw somewhat relevant and not so relevant amendments to the Cyber Security Act of 2012 stand in the way. More than 70 amendments, in fact, need to be figured out to overcome yet another stall on yet another valid bill. And, as is the norm now with our senators, making some workable compromises don't look like they'll happen.

Having already gone through several revisions to address extremely valid concerns about civil liberties and privacy, there are relevant amendments that have been added by both Republican and Democratic senators regarding the prevention of monitoring of private communications by private companies or government entities, for instance. On the other hand, though, some amendments absolutely have nothing to do with IT security. My personal favorites include one that bans high-capacity ammunition clips as part of a gun-reform push and another that looks to stops abortion in D.C. after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Our president now is considering an executive order to breathe some life back into the legislation with the goal in mind to protect the country's critical infrastructure. But, what about those worries over privacy? Your guess is as good as mine. But, from my perspective one thing is certain: With a bunch of blustering yahoos armed with a supply of hubris and vanity greater than any of the Greek gods, anything of usefulness getting passed on the Hill likely never will happen – even after November comes and goes. 

Illena Armstrong is VP, editorial director of SC Magazine.

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