Time to get serious on cybersecurity

By Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)

It seems like nearly every day we learn of another major data breach or cyber-attack – from Target and Sony Pictures to the U.S. Postal Service and the White House. The severity of these cyber intrusions can range from a minor inconvenience to serious damage. While some bad actors are looking to target our pocketbooks and bank accounts, others are targeting our critical infrastructure and looking to do physical harm.

In response to this growing threat, President Obama this week rolled out a series of initiatives to boost our cybersecurity and consumer protection in the digital age. His Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal includes:

• Enabling Cybersecurity Information Sharing

• Modernizing Law Enforcement Authorities to Combat Cyber Crime

• National Data Breach Reporting

The president’s proposal calls for better communication and coordination between the government and the private sector. This process, called information-sharing, ensures that businesses and other organizations large and small can quickly get help in preventing cyber attacks and data breaches and protecting consumers when an attack or breach does happen.

The president’s proposal is a step in the right direction in developing a 21st century response to this 21st century threat. It also serves as an important call to action for Congress to act on cyber security and data breach legislation.

Last Congress, I was proud to work with my colleagues across the aisle, and in both houses of Congress, to pass four cybersecurity bills into law. These bills, which passed through the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs under my chairmanship, take important steps toward building a readied response against the evolving cyber threats we face today. But we have a lot more work to do.

I will soon be re-introducing a bipartisan bill I have long championed to create a national standard for data breach prevention and notification. I will also continue to work with colleagues on legislation that seeks to improve the sharing of cybersecurity information between government and industry. Both of these efforts are critical steps in our effort to better protect our nation’s citizens and businesses, and I pledge to do all I can to get both bills to the president’s desk in this Congress.

I always enjoy having the opportunity to share my thoughts with Delawareans – but more important, I appreciate hearing the thoughts of Delawareans like you. As always, I welcome hearing your views on these issues, or any other, through email or by contacting me on Twitter @SenatorCarper and on Facebook at facebook.com/tomcarper.

Senator Tom Carper is one of Delaware's US Senators. Senator Carper has a long and successful career in Delaware politics. He is affiliated with the Democrat party. Find more about him at the Tom Carper, US Senator site.

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