If the U.S. Congress has it’s way and a new bill, called the Homeland Security Cyber and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act, becomes law, cybersecurity may take a few steps backward. The law would require technology companies to comply with directives imposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, supposedly to submit “cybersecurity plans” for approval or disapproval. The bill also calls for audits and inspections to ensure compliance. Sounds like a good step forward, rather than backward…at first glance, perhaps.
But this approach is fraught with problems…and yes, I’ve got my cynic hat on again. First, are we to reasonably expect that the same government who is itself woefully insecure and vulnerable to cyber attacks, would be able to recognize proper cybersecurity methods and practices? The answer is: not even if they fell over good and proper methods and practices, would they know them to be such. The U.S. government has been successfully attacked, almost at will, by anyone who has half a brain. And the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the proposed watchdog of this bill, has been found to be in need of developing a plan to respond to a cyber crisis. Isn’t that their job…keeping us safe? The old saying “do as I say, not as I do” comes to mind. I’m not getting a warm feeling about this.
The bill calls for up to $100,000 per day in fines to technology companies who are found to be non-compliant. Here again, this seems like the bill has some real muscle, so to speak, to enforce its adoption. I don’t think so… You see, technology companies also realize that the government doesn’t know good cybersecurity when it sees it; and will appeal to the legal system to fight any plans disapproved by Homeland Security. The prognosis of which, is that our technology companies will spend precious time and money on legal battles that could have been spent on cybersecurity. Ironic…eh?
The upside of this bill is that the U.S. government finally realizes and acknowledges that the country has a cybersecurity problem. The downside is that it will be an ineffective bureaucratic nightmare for all involved. See the CNET News article for more information on the bill. Let me hear what you think about all of this.
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