A united technology sector: Improving our nation’s cybersecurity posture while ensuring individual privacy protection


Every day, more than one million adults are the victims of cybercrime — that’s more than 800 every minute. From 2009 to 2010 alone, the volume of internet based intrusions per day increased by 93 percent. More than two thirds of online adults (69 percent) have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetimes. Ninety five percent of the data from cyber intrusions is personal information such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses and the like.

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Many of these attacks are sophisticated and the tactics are constantly evolving. To defend against them, we must be equally sophisticated and nimble in our response. Every year, our industry invests billions of dollars in research and development to improve our cybersecurity capabilities. At the same time, our partnerships with federal, state and local governments get stronger. But there is always room for improvement.

That’s why we support the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, sponsored in the House by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). It gives the federal government an important new ability to share information about cyber threats with America’s businesses, and it gives businesses permission to voluntarily share with government and each other so they can take steps to defend themselves. It’s a reasonable and essential measure that will help create better collective risk mitigation by putting tangible threat information in front of public and private-sector IT professionals who can act on it to protect our national and economic security.

Some have raised legitimate concerns about the privacy and civil liberties implications of companies sharing their data with government. We understand those concerns and take them seriously. We are encouraged that after consulting with leading stakeholders, Rep. Rogers and Rep. Ruppersberger have proposed amending their bill to tighten key definitions and procedures in recognition of the country’s dual interests in bolstering cybersecurity and protecting privacy.

In addition to the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill, we urge the House to pass several other measures that will improve the country’s cybersecurity posture: Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) Federal Information Security Amendments will provide stronger oversight of the security of federal computer systems. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), will better coordinate federal research into cybersecurity. Finally, we support a bill from Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) that will reauthorize research and development of important new computing technology called the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program.

The technology sector will not support an overly prescriptive approach toward cybersecurity innovation, because it would be counterproductive, nor will we support an approach that undermines citizens’ rights. We believe the best defense against cyber threats is rapid, adaptive technological innovation. The measures up for consideration this week provide a good, commonsense framework to help government and private-sector organizations move as quickly as the hackers and criminals who are out to do us all harm. 

If Congress passes these bills, the winners will be the millions of ordinary American citizens who rely on the safety and security of the Internet every day.

Holleyman is President and CEO of the Business Software Alliance. Osborne is President and CEO of TechAmerica. Ramsey is President and CEO of TechNet.


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