You may have heard about President Obama’s proposed new cyber security legislation. One part of this plan is to give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the job of protecting the civilian networks within federal government, in the same way that the Department of Defense (DOD) protects the military cyber infrastructure (the DOD will also work closely with the DHS in cyber security issues).
It seems like a good idea to have someone — in this case the DHS — be a watchdog and hopefully provide some continuity to cyber security. As an InformationWeek Government article states:
[The proposal] strengthens DHS’s role to deploy more rapidly intrusion protection, intrusion prevention, and other mechanisms for the federal government,” said Philip R. Reitinger, deputy undersecretary for the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate.
However, there appears to be some concern that this will give the DHS too much control over the private sector. A Bloomberg article pointed out that this proposal may give too much control to DHS. A PCWorld story added:
[T]he language would still allow private organizations to share vast amounts of information with DHS. Under the proposal, DHS can request information and assistance from private organizations to implement cybersecurity programs, said Representative Mel Watt, a North Carolina Democrat.
It will be interesting to see how Congress approaches the White House’s proposal, but I hope that this is an area where the House and Senate can work together. Cyber security is an issue of national security, and there needs to be some regulation and oversight for the companies that work with the federal government.