Citing privacy concerns, Senate asks for input into information infrastructure protection plan

The Senate today urged federal officials to brief Congress on a Clinton administration plan to protect the federal information infrastructure from cyberattacks. The request followed stories this week in the general press that inaccurately reported that the draft plan would have the FBI monitor interactions with government computers.

During a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) both called for the draft plan to be released to Congress and asked for a closed briefing within the next few weeks.

The National Plan for Information Systems Protection is being developed by the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO), the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), and other high-level officials and groups within the government. It is based on the critical infrastructure protection plans from agencies and industry required by Presidential Decision Directive 63 and was originally scheduled to be sent to Congress and the president this fall, according to John Tritak, director of the CIAO.

Published stories based on a copy of the June 7 draft of the plan that was leaked to a public interest group raised several concerns that the senators felt Congress should know more about, including privacy issues surrounding the monitoring inherent in the proposed Federal Intrusion Detection Network (FIDnet).

"The issues, and specifically the FIDnet proposal reported by the [New York] Times, should be the subject of oversight by the Congress, which has yet to receive an official copy of the plan," Bennett said. "I am confident, given the timing of today's hearing, that a copy of the national plan will be forthcoming and that the oversight process can begin."

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