White House goes interventionist in cyber plans

Cyber security

The White House has proposed a range of cyber security laws to help organisations working in the US stay safe.

Amongst the proposals outlined yesterday by the Obama administration was a law enabling the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) to help companies or public bodies with security.

Greater focus would also be placed on critical infrastructure bodies under the proposals, requiring a third-party to audit their security strategies.

The DHS could also step in here to help shore up security in critical infrastructure organisations, such as energy firms or financial bodies.

"When our infrastructure is online, it is also vulnerable to cyber attacks that could cripple essential services," the White House said in a statement.

"Our proposal emphasises transparency to help market forces ensure that critical-infrastructure operators are accountable for their cyber security."

The proposals also included an idea to let the government and private industry temporarily exchange experts to help spread knowledge.

Similar legislation is currently being discussed in the US Congress.

Some have questioned whether the interventionist approach would be as effective as industry led improvements to security.

Others have questioned the strength of the White House's ideas.

"The administration's proposal shows no sense of urgency," Stewart Baker, a former senior Homeland Security official, told the Associated Press.

"It tells even critical industries on which our lives and society depend that they will have years before anyone from government begins to evaluate their security measures."

The UK Government's cyber security plans could alter with the recent appointment of James Brokenshire as minister for security.

He replaced Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, who resigned this week.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.