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Apr
18

Service providers propose private sector lead cybersecurity legislation

From: Connected Planet

by Susana Schwartz – April 18th, 2011

Friday, The National Cable & Telecommunications Association joined with the CTIA’s Cybersecurity working groups to emphasize to the federal government that legislation around cybersecurity should be built from the ground up with the input of service providers in the earliest planning phases, not after the fact when they can have little influence. Telcos and ISPs this time around want to avoid some of the hardship, costs and bureaucratic red tape that often comes with new appointees like Howard Schmidt.

In a letter sent Thursday to Schmidt and other key officials, the NCTA and CTIA said they would like to avoid “unfunded technical mandates, rigid response requirements, and command‐and‐control type governance structures in cyberspace…” as well as “duplicative and/or burdensome analytical and reporting requirements.”

The organizations jointly propose that the government work with them, and provide “assistance and expertise” where needed, with a particular focus on identifying roles and responsibilities for federal cybersecurity agencies.

The letter also outlined “recommendations” to guide Schmidt and others toward more efficiency in building legislative frameworks, advocating, for example, for a “national security partnership” where government would provide assistance and expertise, and the private sector would act as the main “coordinator.” Further recommendations for liability protection and tax breaks were offered as incentives to drive the private sector to do the right thing.

I anticipate consumer advocacy groups and individuals might have some arguments against a structure that is led by the private sector, so it will be interesting to watch what unfolds. But, this type of proactive approach to contacting a new appointee might set a good precedent, as telecom operators are more often than not slammed with multiple layers of bureaucracy, interference and consequent costs to them when the government acts in an isolated fashion.

What’s your opinion?

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