Taking on telecom security

A presidential advisory committee on telecommunications security has established

a task force to ensure that the next administration is up to speed on issues

that concern the security of critical U.S. networks.

The National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, made up

of 30 corporate leaders in the telecommunications industry, established

an Administration Transition Task Force last month, said an NSTAC spokeswoman.

"NSTAC is doing exactly the right thing in preparing to educate the

new administration," said Franklin Reeder, chairman of the Computer System

Security and Privacy Advisory Board, a group of federal and industry experts

that advises Congress and presidential administrations.

Established by executive order in 1982, NSTAC provides federal security

officials with critical telecommunications expertise. NSTAC's subcommittees

and working groups analyze key issues in telecom security policy and issue

reports to the president about every nine months.

The first official NSTAC report to the new president is scheduled for

early next spring, but "Internet time" has forced the Clinton administration

to ask the committee to ramp up its timelines on certain issues, the NSTAC

spokeswoman said. "We will now provide reports as they are available for

time-sensitive issues, rather than hold them for the annual report to the

president," she said.

NSTAC has also established a new Information Sharing for Critical Infrastructure

Protection Task Force to facilitate information sharing between the private

sector and government. Officials have identified information sharing between

industry and government as one of the most pressing security challenges.

The private sector owns the vast majority of the nation's critical infrastructure.

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