Terrorist Attack Changes Information Technology Issues

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by on 15 January,2013

Last week's terrorist attacks on the United States are expected to shift government and legislative priorities on a host of technology issues. Internet privacy, for instance, the top technology policy issue barely more than a week ago, will likely be replaced by critical-infrastructure protection as the United States seeks to retaliate against what President Bush has called "an act of war." What this means is that pending legislation to protect corporate data about security incidents, voluntarily shared with the government, will likely be fast-tracked. Antispam legislation, on the other hand, may get pushed aside, according to officials at trade and privacy groups, as well as congressional sources.

Moreover, as a result of the attacks, private-sector companies are likely to become a lot more receptive about collaborating with the government and one another on information security issues. One congressional source said government officials have said the attacks are likely to be just the beginning of a wave of assaults that probably will include cyberattacks.

"I think there will be more collaboration. The phrase circle the wagons comes to mind," said Bill Riley, manager of security and disaster recovery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, who added that the government can do a lot to facilitate collaboration. "People get a sense about how big the risk is. It's tough to do it on your own."

To get some idea of the importance of information security in the upcoming policy debate, consider this: One of the first hearings Congress held the day following the September 11 attacks was on critical infrastructure protection. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), who headed the committee hearing, said a "new era" in protecting national security -- including cybersecurity -- had arrived. Although the hearing had been previously scheduled, what was remarkable was that it was even held, since many others were postponed.

Lieberman didn't outline exactly what is needed, and it's still too early to predict exactly what will happen on many technology issues -- which bills will move forward and which ones will stall. Congress, for now, is focused on the immediate terrorism crisis. But people closely involved in technology issues expect a change in focus.

Read 96125 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:15

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