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

  • FCW PERSPECTIVES
    sensor network (agsandrew/Shutterstock.com)

    Are agencies really ready for EIS?

    The telecom contract has the potential to reinvent IT infrastructure, but finding the bandwidth to take full advantage could prove difficult.

  • People
    Dave Powner, GAO

    Dave Powner audits the state of federal IT

    The GAO director of information technology issues is leaving government after 16 years. On his way out the door, Dave Powner details how far govtech has come in the past two decades and flags the most critical issues he sees facing federal IT leaders.

  • FCW Illustration.  Original Images: Shutterstock, Airbnb

    Should federal contracting be more like Airbnb?

    Steve Kelman believes a lighter touch and a bit more trust could transform today's compliance culture.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.