Cybersecurity Goes Political: Senators Try to Go Over Obama Administration

With less than four full months in office, Obama doesn’t seem to be changing cybersecurity quickly enough for Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Unwilling to wait until Obama completed his 60-day evaluation of the US’s cybersecurity policy, Rockefeller and Snowe both drafted their own bills to create a top advisory post in the White House, establish a cybersecurity advisory board, and push companies to improve their network security (SecurityFocus).

While you can read more about the specifics of the proposed bills here, we can’t help but wonder: Why did it take this long?

Many of the ‘suggestions’ made by Rockefeller and Snowe (or, more likely, the security experts they’re working with) are ideas that have been around since the late 90’s. The fact that these ideas have been talked about for nearly a decade but are only recently coming to the attention of the general public makes you wonder why they weren’t highly publicized before.

Aside from the fact that it’s always messy anytime you bring politics into anything (with Rockefeller and Snowe trying to get their respective cybersecurity bills passed being no exception) this is not the time to be warring within ourselves: It is the time to be working together.

With security threats increasing each year, there is no denying the need for stronger security measures at a national level. But are two Senators who (we assume) know relatively little about cybersecurity really the best people to be recommending changes to the way our nation deals with security?

While it might be considered ‘middle-ground,’ we would have to say that it doesn’t matter who gets it done, as long as it is done well. But in order for something like these proposed cybersecurity bills to be carried out well and maintain a rigid stance—meaning no loopholes—should we really be letting people who (once again, we are assuming) do not have expertise in the field make final decisions about the future of cybersecurity?

Our biggest fear is that in order to get these bills passed, both Senators—or Obama, depending on who ‘wins out’—will have to make some compromises or water down the final bill. In the case of security, even one loophole can make it easy for determined individuals to get around the entire bill. And as long as Congress and the general public see three ‘options’ for the future of cybersecurity  (two by the Senators and one by Obama), the likelihood of a compromise occurring is that much more probable.  

So what’s the solution? At the risk of sounding like a motivational poster, the answer is to simply work together instead of working against each other. That old saying “three heads are better than one” is true: You’re going to create a much better solution if you’re spending all your time and energy on finding the best possible solution instead of one person spending half their time trying to perfect their solution and argue against someone else’s solution.

Since we don’t claim to be an expert on politics, we would really love some insight from those of you who are more politically savvy; what’s your take on this situation? Feel free to comment below or send us a tweet @grecs

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