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The Need for Cyber Security Sparks Action In Government

With a growing concern for national security and expanding information sharing networks, the government is making efforts to establish legislation protecting the American cyber community.

Most recently, in February 2012 Congress considered the Cybersecurity Act (“Act”) as a means to provide for information sharing across different industries to establish cybersecurity. The Act also places the burden of monitoring sites and infrastructures on the owners of the sites, rather than any managers hired to maintain the sites.

Congress ultimately has not passed the Act because there is such a divide among politicians regarding the most effective means to establish protection for the American cyber community. See http://articles.cnn.com/2012-08-02/politics/politics_cybersecurity-act_1_cybersecurity-bill-homeland-security-cyberattacks for more information.

The Obama administration has since drafted an Executive Order (“Order”) that outlines an approach to protect the American cyber community and information sharing networks. An executive order will allow the President to effectuate law that calls for cyber security measures without congressional affirmation. The Order seeks to provide protection for industries that may be vulnerable to attacks on their information networks. These include private industries that operate utilities, such as electricity and water, and also banking and other finance sectors.

The Order calls on these industries to voluntarily share threatening information with the government in order to provide the Department of Homeland Security with knowledge as to the vulnerable sectors of the nation. However, these provisions are susceptible to criticism for violating individual and privacy rights. Indeed, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable searches. Greater information sharing may threaten personal autonomy by allowing unreasonable searches into Internet search history, purchases, and other such personal practices leading to lack of privacy.

The Order, if it is signed into effect, further calls on the Department of Homeland Security to submit reports naming the sectors of the cyberspace infrastructure that are most vulnerable to attack. This will in turn provide the government with guidance in planning how to organize agencies to regulate and protect these sectors of the infrastructure.

Commentators are skeptical as to how effective this Order will be towards regulating and protecting the American cyber community. A recent article in Forbes Magazine explains that the ever-changing nature of cyberspace makes it difficult to enforce strict regulations. In addition, the Order may create a complex bureaucratic system that is ultimately ineffective in protecting the American cyber network.

At the Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh, we guide California businesses and individuals through the regulatory and transactional pitfalls of the Internet, using legal knowledge and technological skills to create innovative solutions for our clients. Please contact us today online or at (310) 694-3034 to set up a confidential consultation.