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House Republicans Fault Obama Over ‘Backdoor’ Cybersecurity Mandates

Monday, January 7, 2013

A group of House Republicans Dec. 21 blasted the White House for seeking to impose “backdoor” cybersecurity regulations on the private sector by way of an executive order.

In a letter to President Obama, the lawmakers said that rapid changes in technology will guarantee the failure of any “static” regulatory approaches.

“Imposing a backdoor regulatory framework through Executive Order will not solve our cybersecurity challenges,” said the letter, which was signed by more than 40 House Republicans.

“Instead of preempting Congress' will and pushing a top-down regulatory framework, your administration should engage Congress in an open and constructive manner to help address the serious cybersecurity challenges facing our country,” the letter said.

A White House spokeswoman told BNA Dec. 21 that it had no comment on the letter.

The administration has said that it is weighing the possibility of issuing a cybersecurity executive order in the wake of a Senate impasse over the issue. A recently leaked draft order would call for federal agencies to consider a combination of both incentives and rulemaking activities to boost cybersecurity in the private sector (see related report in this issue).

Under the draft order, the Commerce Department would be charged with coordinating the development of a voluntary cybersecurity program for the nation's “critical infrastructure” operators that could potentially include incentives designed to promote industry participation. In addition, regulatory agencies would be required to determine whether cybersecurity requirements under current law are adequate.

By Alexei Alexis  


Full text of the Republican letter is available at http://op.bna.com/der.nsf/r?Open=csaz-938242.

Full text of the November draft order is available at http://op.bna.com/der.nsf/r?Open=sbay-936w5q.

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