Sharing seen as critical for security

Industry must collaborate with the government to protect the nation's critical infrastructure, experts say

The private sector manages more than 85 percent of the nation's critical infrastructure and must therefore collaborate with the government to protect those resources, according to government and industry leaders speaking at a May 8 Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.

But such collaboration requires an environment conducive to companies voluntarily sharing vital information and a cultural change on both sides that will take time, they said, leaving numerous seams open to enemy attacks in the meantime.

Sens. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) are pushing the Critical Infrastructure Information Security Act to enable the federal government and industry to share information about potential threats to the nation's critical infrastructure without fear that the data would be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

"If the private sector and the government are both targets, they should be talking to each other," Bennett said, acknowledging that industry is skeptical that information can be used against them just like some regulators are skeptical of businesses. "We need to keep understanding that this information would otherwise not be available to anyone. People who wish us ill will take advantage of the seams."

Committee chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), ranking member Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and numerous government and industry witnesses agreed that the legislation is on the right track, but they also acknowledged that many issues must be worked through, especially industry's fear that any information companies share with the government could be used against them legally or by competitors.

"You can't legislate trust--and there is no silver bullet," said John Tritak, director of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office. "You can't create it with the passage of law, but the goal is to encourage that relationship."

Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, said that his organization supports the Critical Infrastructure Information Security Act and the related House legislation, the Cyber Security Information Act, but he noted that "current FOIA language is not sufficient to protect critical infrastructure information from disclosure."

David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), disagreed. "Overly broad new [FOIA] exemptions could adversely impact the public's right to oversee important and far-reaching governmental functions and remove incentives for remedial private-sector action."

Industry and EPIC aren't the only ones with reservations about the Bennett-Kyl legislation, said John Malcolm, deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Criminal Division. He said as it's written now, the law would "tie the government's hands" by precluding it from taking civil enforcement action against a company by "direct use" of information obtained through critical infrastructure needs.

That loophole would enable a company that was knowingly at fault to do a "document dump" on the government and basically absolve itself of future civil prosecution, Malcolm said.

Both government and industry realize that sharing information is "in the public interest, but industry is reluctant to do that if they feel like their digging themselves a hole," Tritak told Federal Computer Week.

"People expect too much of legislation to fix a cultural problem," he said. "A lack of clarity encourages [conservative] behavior. We're suggesting a real partnering that requires a collaborative relationship with government and industry jointly working for homeland security."

The Bush administration endorses a "narrowly-crafted" FOIA exemption on critical infrastructure information, and the Bennett-Kyl bill is being given "serious consideration," Tritak said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.