Senators propose reform, not regulation, for better cybersecurity

The federal government needs to beef up its web defenses rather than focus on “heavy-handed” expensive regulation to deal with the onslaught of cyber attacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure, according to some Republican lawmakers.

In Jan. 29 op-ed for Politico, Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)  Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) propose that the government collaborate with industry to find the “right way” to address cybersecurity. The lawmakers were responding to a yet-to-be released cybersecurity bill.

The appropriate method, the senators suggest in the op-ed, is to reform the Federal Information Security Management Act with a real-time monitoring system. They also recommended  partnering with research institutions such as the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to create cutting-edge cyber defenses to fend off virtual attacks, and bolstering existing oversight frameworks.

The Republican senators opposed providing additional agencies more regulation authority.

Other lawmakers disagree with the GOP perspective. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), via a spokesman quoted in an article in The Hill, argued that the federal government has the duty to protect its own information, even when the information is processed or stored by a contractor on behalf of an agency.

If the contractor's handling of the data "isn't as secure as it should be, the government needs to have the authority to step in and improve security," the spokesman said. "Intervention authority is routinely written into contracts. The senators and the administration think it is important enough to be written in statute. We have been receptive to the concerns raised and made changes and additions to the bill based on those concerns."

 

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity
    CISA chief Chris Krebs disusses the future of the agency at Auburn University Aug. 22 2019

    Shared services and the future of CISA

    Chris Krebs, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at DHS, said that many federal agencies will be outsourcing cyber to a shared service provider in the future.

  • Telecom
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA softens line on looming EIS due date

    Think of the September deadline for agencies to award contracts under the General Services Administration's $50-billion telecommunications contract as a "yellow light," said GSA's telecom services director.

  • Defense
    Shutterstock photo id 669226093 By Gorodenkoff

    IC looks to stand up a new enterprise IT program office

    The intelligence community wants to stand up a new program executive office to help develop new IT capabilities.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.