Cyber Security Industry Alliance Newsletter •  Volume 2, Number 10  • June 2006

Executive Director’s Message

Time is running out on the legislative clock.

As August approaches, the Congressional calendar begins to rapidly wind down: most members of Congress head home to campaign for the November elections, and the "must pass" bills — such as reauthorization and appropriations bills — are fast-tracked to the top of the list to ensure, at minimum, continued government operations. But there are two critical items missing from the schedule: data security legislation and ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

These are vital issues that affect not only businesses, but consumers. The almost-daily breaches we see in the news — from medical records to social security numbers to bank accounts — are eroding public confidence in the security of private personal information. We need a comprehensive national law that aims to both prevent further data breaches and address leaks once they occur.

Likewise, the Convention on Cybercrime, which sits in the Senate — signed, but not ratified — provides the means for international cooperation to combat fraud, child pornography, pedophilia, computer hacking, and other dangerous activities.

Before Congress recesses, these issues must also be added to the top of the list and addressed. The growing trust deficit that we are seeing as a result of the continuous flow of breaches is a serious threat to economic growth. Online fraud and child pornography proliferate at alarming rates — we have tools to act against these crimes, but we are not using them to the fullest extent possible. Action must happen now.

CSIA encourages Congressional leadership to quickly reach an agreement on a comprehensive data security bill that establishes reasonable security measures, creates a consistent and recognizable notification standard, encourages security best practices such as encryption, and includes effective enforcement capabilities. We also urge the Senate to ratify the Convention on Cybercrime so we can give our nation's law enforcement the necessary legal tools to fight online crimes.

The Honorable Thurbert E. Baker
Attorney General, State of Georgia,
and Paul Kurtz answer audience questions
at the CSIA-sponsored Town Hall Meeting

This month’s newsletter features Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, who outlines the importance of the Cybercrime Convention, and advocates for ratification. CSIA commends the Chairman and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their hard work and persistence in encouraging ratification.

We also provide a recap of our successful Town Hall Discussion on Safeguarding Information on the Internet, which was held in Atlanta, GA. The discussion followed a keynote address by Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker, who stressed the need to enact federal data security legislation.

These issues go beyond industry and the beltway, as they are affecting our businesses, economy, and consumers; but it is within Washington, D.C. where such policies are created and executed. We look forward to rapid action by Congress in the coming months.