News / USA

    Obama to Highlight Cybersecurity Proposals in State of the Union

    FILE - To enhance cybersecurity, President Barack Obama is calling for greater exchange of information among federal agencies and private companies.
    FILE - To enhance cybersecurity, President Barack Obama is calling for greater exchange of information among federal agencies and private companies.

    In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama is expected to focus on several new cybersecurity and privacy proposals recently announced by the White House. The measures call for greater information sharing between the federal government and private companies, and new security initiatives to prevent high-profile hacks.

    At a White House meeting recently with congressional leaders, Obama said both parties could agree to strengthen cybersecurity. The recent attack at Sony Pictures and a hack of a Pentagon Twitter feed by supporters of the Islamic State group, he said, underscore the need to act.

    "It just goes to show how much more work we need to do both public and private sector, to strengthen our cybersecurity, to make sure family’s bank accounts are safe, to make sure that our public infrastructure’s safe," Obama said.

    While U.S. government computer systems are generally well-protected, the same cannot be said of many private and corporate networks, said Daily Beast senior correspondent Shane Harris. This puts at risk all kinds of data, from banking and credit records to email communications to control of the nation’s electric grid.

    "We don’t regulate Internet security the way we do, say, chemical plants and food production facilities. We just don’t do that – we might, but we’re not doing that now," said Harris.

    In all, the White House has introduced three separate measures to combat cybercrime and strengthen privacy.

    The first, the Personal Data Protection and Notification Act, would require companies that handle data to alert customers if any of their private information had been compromised or stolen by hackers within 30 days.

    The measure has won strong backing by many retailers and other data companies.

    Denise Zheng, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that’s because companies are already dealing with a costly and cumbersome patchwork of similar laws in different states.

    "There are currently 47 different states that have data breach notification laws already on the books," Zheng said. "What this bill would do is actually create some more regulatory certainty and a standard across the country."

    Another proposal would encourage private corporations to voluntarily share certain types of information with each other and with the federal Department of Homeland Security.

    "Where the administration’s proposal leaves gaps is in privacy policies," said Harley Geiger, senior council at the Center for Democracy and Technology. "It actually relies rather heavily on privacy procedures that have not yet been written. The law would require them to be written, but since they have not been created, it is impossible to gauge whether or not they would actually be effective."

    So far, congressional leaders have been mostly silent about whether they would support or oppose the president’s initiatives. An earlier proposal to protect consumers from fraud and government intrusion failed in Congress last year.

    Cyber journalist Harris said Obama’s reference to protecting family bank accounts may, in fact, be the proposal’s best selling point.

    "We talk a lot about credit card information being stolen and it’s very easy to get your credit card replaced, but what happens if somebody hacks your checking account and you wake up one morning and your balance is zero? If something like that were to start to happen – and that’s something that’s happened to corporations in this country – then you’re going to see a level of public concern and alarm over this that could be very destabilizing," said Harris.

    Still, it’s unclear how much pressure U.S. lawmakers will feel from the public to pass these measures.


    Doug Bernard

    dbjohnson+voanews.com

    Doug Bernard covers cyber-issues for VOA, focusing on Internet privacy, security and censorship circumvention. Previously he edited VOA’s “Digital Frontiers” blog, produced the “Daily Download” webcast and hosted “Talk to America”, for which he won the International Presenter of the Year award from the Association for International Broadcasting. He began his career at Michigan Public Radio, and has contributed to "The New York Times," the "Christian Science Monitor," SPIN and NPR, among others. You can follow him @dfrontiers.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ivanov from: Russia
    January 20, 2015 1:35 AM
    why i look in america stories! such a waste of my time!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora