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White House, Congress Work Toward Cybersecurity Plan

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White House

Credit: The Tech Herald

Before the U.S. Congress is a White House proposal and several bills concerning government and private-sector cybersecurity improvement. White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt is confident that legislation will be approved before the current congressional session ends.

Schmidt says the White House proposal "sets a good marker to say, 'Here is the minimum that we need to do.'" The proposal mandates that critical infrastructure companies comply with industry-produced and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-approved cybersecurity guidelines. DHS secretary Janet Napolitano would be responsible for creating standards if industry recommendations are not passed by DHS, and companies that fail to fulfill the standards would risk losing business with other companies and the government.

Recommendations dispatched by a House Republican task force are more incentive-focused. The group urged Congress to offer firms benefits, such as tax credits, to encourage better cybersecurity practices and accord limited liability protection for companies that experience a breach but satisfy or exceed voluntary cybersecurity standards devised by the government and industry.

Still, the White House and Congress agree on several points, and a Democratic aide says lawmakers in the Senate are bundling the White House proposal and the other cyberbills into an omnibus measure.

From Federal Times
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