Chambliss: Private Sector Should Drive Cyber Security

In an era when hostile governments or rogue computer hackers can potentially deal serious blows to the United States, private utility companies and not the government should be setting up the nation’s protective cyber security standards, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss told the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta at its weekly luncheon Aug. 7.

“This keeps me up at night,” Mr. Chambliss, who is the vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in his address about the vulnerability of the country to hackers citing daily cyber attacks on the Pentagon.

While he acknowledged that the U.S. has not suffered an attack by foreign terrorists since 9/11, he warned that major vulnerabilities in the country’s stock markets and electric grid, for example, pose serious threats to its national security.

Yet on Aug. 3., Mr. Chambliss sided with other Senate Republicans to block the proposed Cybersecurity Act, which would create a set of voluntary government-set security standards for companies in charge of energy, water, transportation and other critical infrastructure to implement.

The Georgia senator said that he prefers the private sector taking the charge on cyber security with the government overseeing security precautions.

In an opinion piece written June 31 for Politico, an online political news service, by Mr. Chambliss and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the legislators criticized the speed by which the bill was brought to a vote and the way it involves the government in the day-to-day operations of private companies.

“Any solution to cybersecurity must allow the private sector, which owns 85 percent of our nation’s critical infrastructure, the freedom to use all tools at its disposal to protect against cyber intrusions,” the senators said. “The bill’s proposed framework creates a government-based solution that hampers the private sector’s agility and ingenuity to meet this rapidly evolving threat.”


This story first appeared on Aug. 9, 2012.


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