GOP senator: Obama’s engagement on cybersecurity could have come sooner

Congress could have used President Obama’s increased engagement on cybersecurity last year, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said.  

He accused Obama of being late to the game but welcomed the president’s push on a number of privacy and cybersecurity proposals, unveiled Monday during a speech at the Federal Trade Commission.

“This level of personal engagement on legislation by the president certainly would have helped advance the bipartisan cybersecurity information sharing bill,” Thune said. 

“President Obama’s engaged support for similar legislation this Congress would help address cyber threats, improve privacy protections, and would also begin to address concerns over the President’s go-it-alone approach of unilateral executive actions on cyber and other issues,” Thune added. 

He accused the Democratic Senate leadership of killing a bill last Congress to improve information sharing between business and the government. Both chambers ended up passing a series of smaller cyber proposals. 

Ahead of the State of the Union, Obama is using the week to highlight a number of cybersecurity proposals as a number of recent attacks on businesses have shined a light on the issue. 

On Monday, he called on Congress to pass legislation that would require companies to notify the public of a hack no later than 30 days after the event. 

He also pushed legislation to form a “consumer privacy bill of rights” and another that would prevent companies from using student data — collected in an educational context — for commercial purposes.

Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee also applauded Obama’s push. The committee’s subpanel on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will make a data breach bill the first item on its agenda, they said. 

“We welcome the president’s focus on this critical issue and look forward to working with the White House this year to enact meaningful legislation that will limit online threats and give consumers better peace of mind,”  said Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), who leads the subcommittee. 

Tags Barack Obama Commerce Committee Federal Trade Commission Fred Upton John Thune Michael Burgess

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