Statement Of Laurel G. Bellows, President, _ Re: The ‘Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity’ Executive Order

CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 2013 — President Obama’s executive order on cybersecurity is a productive first step to address the serious threats posed by foreign nations, criminal syndicates and hackers to our national, corporate and individual security.

The president’s order addresses many of the cybersecurity principles adopted by the _.  For example, it engages stakeholders for public-private cooperation, enhances the hiring of private sector subject-matter experts and encourages the involvement of industry-led standards organizations.  The executive order mandates that protections for privacy and civil liberties be incorporated into cybersecurity activities based on applicable policies, principles and frameworks.  The order also establishes a mechanism for intelligence agencies to share more threat information with owners and operators of critical infrastructure, and it expedites processes for security clearances.

Other provisions of the executive order are also commendable.  It provides that the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology will lead the development of a cybersecurity framework to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure.  This is important because of the central role NIST plays today in establishing cybersecurity controls for the nation’s critical sectors.  The executive order also requires that the cybersecurity guidance must be technology neutral to ensure a competitive market for products and services.

While the executive order begins the process of addressing critical cybersecurity issues, comprehensive cybersecurity legislation is still necessary to fill gaps and limitations that remain.  As described in the ABA cybersecurity principles, new public-private frameworks are needed to confront more virulent cyber threats.  Furthermore, legal and policy environments must be modernized to stay ahead of, or at a minimum keep pace with, technological advancements.

Cybersecurity is an incredibly difficult issue to confront, but our success in responding to those threats is vitally important to the economic well-being and physical safety of every U.S. citizen.  The White House has acted.  Congress still has the opportunity and the legislative responsibility to comprehensively address the gaps and issues that are beyond the authority of an executive order.  The _ will continue to focus attention on this critical issue, and educate the legal community and the American public.

(Media contact:  Robert.Boisseau@americanbar.org)

Please click here for a biography and photo of Laurel G. Bellows, president of the _.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.