Cybersecurity Bill Strengthens Government-Industry Cooperation but New Regulations Would Carry Unintended Consequences


Contact:         
Charlie Greenwald at 202.682.4443 or charlie.greenwald@techamerica.org
Anne Caliguiri Savoie at 703.284.5305 or anne.savoie@techamerica.org

Washington, DC – New cybersecurity legislation proposed by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) incorporates important cooperation with the private sector in cybersecurity efforts but also proposes regulations that would apply to much of cyberspace and carry unintended consequences, TechAmerica said today.

“We sincerely salute Senators Lieberman, Collins and Carper for grappling with one of the most serious threats of our time and for acknowledging the industry’s indispensible role in the effort to strengthen cybersecurity,” said TechAmerica President and CEO Phil Bond. “Good intentions aside, America’s technology companies are concerned about the unintended consequences that would result from the legislation’s regulatory approach.”

While industry recognizes that the Senators intended to focus narrowly on the most critical infrastructure, the fundamental interconnected nature of the systems and networks that make up the information infrastructure makes that virtually impossible, Bond added.

“If the bill passes in its current form, it will turn the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into a significant regulatory agency. Regulations like these could seriously undermine the very innovation we need to stay ahead of the bad actors and prosper as a nation.”

The Association also said coordination between industry and government must be a part of any legislation authorizing emergency powers in the event of a cybersecurity incident.

“Fundamentally, industry agrees that in times of emergency, all appropriate resources and authorities should be brought to bear,” Bond said. “We are continuing to evaluate the emergency powers in the bill to make sure they provide for coordination with industry at every step and to mitigate the potential for absolute power.”

The Association also noted many positive aspects of the legislation, saying it “enthusiastically supports” the proposed elevation of offices and individuals leading the government’s cybersecurity efforts in the Department of Homeland Security and in the White House. The adoption of measures from the proposed Federal Information Security Management Enhancement Act of 2010, long supported by the technology industry, is also a “significant step forward,” as are important provisions to support research and development in cybersecurity and bolster the federal cybersecurity workforce.

Bond also noted positive aspects of the Senators’ efforts to address their concerns about security in the global supply chain on which the technology industry must rely for the development of so many indispensible commercial off-the-shelf technology products.

“The legislation explicitly protects agencies’ access to those products,” he said. “We’re also pleased to see that they included an important role for industry in the development of a strategy to ensure the security of the global supply chain on which our industry relies for many of the products we provide to the government.”

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About TechAmerica

TechAmerica is the leading voice for the U.S. technology industry – the driving force behind productivity growth and jobs creation in the United States and the foundation of the global innovation economy. Representing approximately 1,200 member companies of all sizes from the public and commercial sectors of the economy, it is the industry’s largest advocacy organization and is dedicated to helping members’ top and bottom lines. TechAmerica is also the technology industry’s only grassroots-to-global advocacy network, with offices in state capitals around the United States, Washington, D.C., Europe (Brussels) and Asia (Beijing).It was formed by the merger of AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association), the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and the Government Electronics & Information Technology Association (GEIA).Learn more about TechAmerica at www.techamerica.org.