Issa, Cummings: Time for a New Cybersecurity Law

Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 12:56 PM

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The nation needs an update to the 11-year-old law meant to protect itself against technological threats, according to Reps. Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings.

The two have introduced the Federal Information Security Amendments Act to do just that. Issa is the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Cummins is its ranking Democrat.

“When Congress first passed the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002, we had far fewer ways to communicate and less sophisticated threats to our nation’s Cybersecurity,” the two wrote in an opinion piece for Politico.

“Now, our options for communication are endless and the ways a creative hacker can access corporate and government secrets from a computer halfway across the world are limitless . . . FISMA has become less of a dynamic defense against cyberattacks and more of a routine compliance activity.”

The government must improve at identifying and preventing attacks, the congressmen said, noting that their "bipartisan legislation will address the shortcomings of FISMA by incorporating recent technological innovations.

“It will also enhance and strengthen the current framework that protects federal information technology systems. Perhaps most important, our bill will establish automated and continuous monitoring for existing systems, including regular threat assessments, so we are constantly checking for possible attacks.”

At the same time, the bill will respect Americans’ privacy, the lawmakers wrote. “It protects our federal IT systems while maintaining the security of personally identifiable information.”


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