President Obama is continuing to focus on cybersecurity and privacy issues and proposals in the buildup to his State of the Union address, underscoring the importance of addressing these matters and the increase in bipartisan interest in action. During his visit to the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) today, the president announced further actions his administration is taking to enhance cybersecurity and privacy protections, following the announcement of two forthcoming legislative proposals on privacy yesterday.
The president announced that the White House is updating its 2011 Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal to “encourage the private sector to share appropriate cyber threat information with the [NCCIC], which will then share it in as close to real-time as practicable with relevant federal agencies and with private sector-developed and operated Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) by providing targeted liability protection for companies that share information with these entities.” The proposal would also protect individual privacy by “requiring private entities to comply with certain privacy restrictions such as removing unnecessary personal information and taking measures to protect any personal information that must be shared in order to qualify for liability protection.” The proposal would require the Department of Homeland Security and the attorney general, in consultation with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and others, to develop receipt, retention, use and disclosure guidelines for the federal government.
Additionally, the White House announced a summit to be held on February 13, 2015, at Stanford University to discuss policy issues surrounding cybersecurity and consumer protection. The goal of the summit is to “shape public and private sector efforts to protect American consumers and companies from growing threats to consumers and commercial networks.” The summit is expected to bring together senior administration officials and agency heads, along with CEOs from several different industries, as well as law enforcement, consumer advocates, technical experts and students. According to a White House release, topics will include “increasing public-private partnerships and cybersecurity information sharing, creating and promoting improved cybersecurity practices and technologies, and improving adoption and use of more secure payment technologies.”
Finally, the White House announced that the Department of Energy will provide $25 million in grants over the next five years to support a cybersecurity education consortium consisting of 13 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and two national labs. The grants are part of a 2010 executive order to promote excellence at HBCU and are designed to help to fill the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals. Vice President Biden will formally announce the grants at an event on Thursday in Norfolk, VA.