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White House cybersecurity bill: A promise delivered?

Consumer Reports News: May 12, 2011 07:08 PM

The White House today announced that it is sending a cybersecurity legislative proposal, in the form of legislation, to Congress.

The proposal addresses such key issues as data breach reporting, penalties for computer criminal, protections for the country's critical infrastructure, and the protection of government computers and networks. According to the White House, the proposal is also supposed to contain a framework for protecting privacy and civil liberties.

The bill follows President Obama's speech on cybersecurity in May 2009 in which he promised a new comprehensive approach to securing America's digital infrastructure.

When I covered that 2009 speech from the White House East Room, I wrote here that he was "setting the stage for a new era in America's cyber-defense, which has been woefully inadequate for many years." (My somber assessment of the nation's cybersecurity at the time reflected nearly a decade of covering cybersecurity for Consumer Reports, including numerous interviews with the nation's top experts).

Now that the Administration's approach to national cybersecurity has taken shape in the form of legislation, it should become a lot clearer to what extent it has made good on the President's promise. The actual text of the bill isn't yet available. When it is, I'll provide more information about it here, along with an assessment of it what it might mean for consumers.

FACT SHEET: Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal [White House]
Remarks by the President on Securing our Nation's Cyber Infrastructure [White House]

Jeffrey Fox

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