Obama Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order

As expected, U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a cybersecurity executive order following months of discussions with technology firms.

The order will "strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy," Obama said during his State of the Union address.

The executive order doesn't propose new regulations that target private businesses, nor does it seemingly rewrite privacy laws by allowing companies to share confidential information with government agencies without permission.

Republicans are still wishing to do exactly that in their own bill called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA. Obama's order has, however, eased the pressure on Congress to progress with the controversial bill. Still, it'll be reintroduced on February 13 by House Intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican.

As the president signed an executive order as opposed to a new law, the U.S. government is restricted in directing the activities of federal agencies. Some aspects of the order includes expanding "real time sharing of cyber threat information" to firms that operate critical infrastructure, as well as proposing a "review of existing cybersecurity regulation."

"Rather than having the government monitor private networks, it is better for security and privacy to have private entities protect their own systems and networks. Better sharing of what the government knows will enhance that effort," said Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology.


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