Task Force Acts to Protect Networks; Sets Road Map to Cyberspace Laws

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Byline: Shaun Waterman, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Republican congressmen Wednesday produced a road map for new laws to protect cyberspace from hackers, criminals and foreign enemies, saying voluntary information-sharing arrangements and incentive-based policies are better than new regulations.

The House Cyber Security Task Force warned that the U.S. faces a variety of cyberspace threats from vandalism and petty crime to, potentially, cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism, but we may not be able to tell which it is at the moment of attack.

Although the issue not [being] at the top of the public's expressed priorities, the task force advocates new laws to help secure the nation's computer networks from attacks.

The task force recommends a piecemeal approach, saying that each of the nine committees with cybersecurity jurisdiction should produce their own bills, rather than aiming for a single comprehensive law, as the Senate has been trying to do.

Starting with incentives, information sharing and updating some key laws can lead to real progress, rather than more gridlock, like we have seen with larger proposals, said Rep. Mac Thornberry, Texas Republican and task force chairman.

Successive administrations and congresses have wrestled with the thorny issue of cybersecurity, which is at the same time a national security threat, a law enforcement challenge, a technological problem and an economic policy issue.

Although an Internet-based attack could be part of a military offensive, for instance, the infrastructure that would carry such an attack is mostly owned by private companies - not all of them American - on which huge sections of the global economy might rely for their profitability. …