Opinion

It's time for legislators to work together for cybersecurity

Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing room

The Internet has caused society to evolve. It has changed how we learn, communicate, and buy and sell goods. With emerging industries that are now offering connected cars, smart homes, cloud storage and artificial intelligence, we are changing the basics of how we live our daily lives and structure our society.

As members of Congress in the digital age, it is essential that we understand technology issues and prioritize cybersecurity, both in the public and private sector.  In a world where the line between our digital and non-digital lives is blurred, the stakes are simply too high to let this issue become divided by partisanship.

We are at a critical inflection point.  High-profile hacks at companies like Sony, Target, and Anthem, as well as at federal agencies like the Office of Personnel Management, show that no sector is immune to cyberattacks. In the next five years we will either see government agencies and companies embrace cutting-edge technologies and new practices for collecting and storing critical data, or we will see more wasteful spending and unsecure information systems. This will only lead to more data breaches and other potentially devastating attacks.

Cybersecurity is too important to become a partisan football. Congress can and must come together to address cybersecurity issues with carefully tailored legislative updates.

Government and industry must work together to stop bad actors and attacks while protecting our civil liberties, or we will see continued public distrust, missed opportunities, and incalculable economic damage.

Cybersecurity is too important to become a partisan football.  Congress can and must come together to address cybersecurity issues with carefully tailored legislative updates and other solutions.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  Let's embrace this opportunity to update our laws to reflect the realities of modern technology. Let's make sure that federal agencies are staffed by top-notch personnel and have access to qualified, high-skilled labor. Let's ditch the old and outdated legacy systems and employ cutting edge technologies to protect our most sensitive information and assets. And let's move forward with common-sense legislation that enables the sharing of threat data between private and public actors while respecting privacy and adhering to the Fourth Amendment.

We can achieve this the way we have always achieved anything of note -- by working together.  As chairman and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Information Technology of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, we are committed to doing so, and invite each of our colleagues to join us.

About the Authors

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) is the Chairman of the IT Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) is Ranking Member of the IT Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

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