Pa. strengthens cybersecurity
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Oct 22, 2001
Pennsylvania officials have launched an initiative to strengthen security
and privacy policies and practices by educating state employees, hiring
an ombudsman to oversee compliance and amending criminal codes to better
Gov. Mark Schweiker unveiled the initiative, PA Secure Online, Oct.
18. The governor's deputy press secretary, David La Torre, said it had been
in the works for some time and was not precipitated by the Sept. 11 terrorist
"Actually, we were working on PA Secure Online well before 9/11, but
9/11 only increased the need for security online," he said. "We thought
it was important at this time that everyone was on the same page regarding
privacy and security policies."
By next spring, the state hopes to have an ombudsman in place, a position
akin to a chief privacy officer, he said. The ombudsman, who would be under
the auspices of the state Department of Information Technology, would reach
out to agencies and coordinate the education effort as well as ensure compliance
of state policies and federal restrictions on the use, storage and access
to data, he said.
The state will also create a "cyber academy" to better educate state
employees on detecting threats to cybersecurity and train investigators
techniques for apprehending hackers. He said the state would use experts
from within state government as well as from across the country to train
employees at workshops and seminars.
La Torre said the proposed ombudsman and cyber academy would not require
new legislation and would have minimal financial impact. But amending the
criminal code would require new laws to better clarify language in dealing
with such computer crimes as cyberstalking and hacking.
The state also wants to make sure that the law is clear on who has jurisdictional
authority on a cybercrime, an issue many states are grappling with, he said.
"We want to make sure everything is clear and concise so [authorities]
have a bead on the person who is committing the cybercrime," La Torre said.