OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY: White House backing OPM director

Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We're here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry wrap their arms around cyberthreats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you're a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we're here to give you ...

THE BIG STORIES:

--STAND BY ME: The White House on Wednesday stood by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta, even as more lawmakers called for her ousting in the wake of the biggest government data breach ever. "The president does have confidence that she is the right person for the job," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. But Archuleta is losing support on Capitol Hill after a poorly-received performance at a Tuesday hearing, and as staffers start receiving notifications that their information is likely stolen. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who co-chairs the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, on Wednesday joined the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers looking for Archuleta's dismissal. "In testimony yesterday ... she refused to acknowledge the errors OPM has made or to apologize to the millions of affected Americans," he said. To read about the White House's support, click here. To read about why Langevin thinks Archuleta deserves to go, click here.

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--POTATO POTAHTO?: The White House is pushing back against the Republican vision for the administration's new cyber agency, claiming the GOP has bigger plans for it than the administration ever intended. The fight over the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) is playing out in an intelligence policy bill that the House passed Tuesday night over Democratic objections and a White House veto threat. The measure will delineate CTIIC's roles and responsibilities. The Obama administration envisions the center as a one-stop shop that gathers and analyzes the dispersed cyber threat data collected across the government. But the White House is accusing the Republicans of slipping an unnecessarily expansive mandate for the CTIIC into the intel measure. To read our full piece, click here.

 

UPDATE ON CYBER POLICY:

--NEIGHBORLY LOVE. After firming up its cybersecurity relations with a number of overseas allies, the Obama administration is turning its attention to its North American neighbors this week. Starting Wednesday, State Department officials are attending a three-day summit to strengthen cyber ties with the U.S.'s northern and southern neighbors, Canada and Mexico.

"This will be the first trilateral consultation on cyber policy among U.S., Canadian and Mexican cyber foreign policy experts, and is part of a broader effort to address cyber policy under the North American Leaders Summit," the State Department said.

The North American Leaders Summit is a mostly annual gathering of the heads of U.S., Canada and Mexico that first took place in 2005. http://bit.ly/1Ilqyi8

 

 

LIGHTER CLICK:

--IT STARTED AS A JOKE, but now it's real. Utah Valley University has added a "texting only" lane to its corridors. Per the The New York Times: "A stairway in the campus life and wellness center in Orem, Utah, has been divided into three lanes: walking, running and texting. It's like the high-occupancy lane on the highway, but it's you and your device so connected that you can't take a second to part ways between classes." Read on here.

 

A REPORT IN FOCUS:

--DON'T TREAD ON ME. The United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, on Wednesday presented a report -- first released in May -- to the UN Human Rights Council that proclaims strong encryption is fundamental to exercising basic human rights.

Along with the report, the UN also released comments that countries submitted for the report. The U.S. submission is interesting in light of the ongoing battle between the administration and tech community over encryption standards.

"The United States firmly supports the development and robust adoption of strong encryption, which is a key tool to secure commerce and trade, safeguard private information, promote freedoms of expression and association, and strengthen cybersecurity," the letter says.

It continues: "At the same time, terrorists and other criminals use encryption and anonymity tools to conceal and enable their crimes. This poses serious challenges for public safety. Society has an undeniable interest in law enforcement being able to investigate and prosecute terrorist and other criminals."

Check out the full U.S. submission here. And get a refresher on the report with our full story from May.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.

Reddit, the self-described "front page of the Internet," will start encrypting all of its traffic by the end of the month. (The Hill)

Activist hacking group Anonymous took down Canadian government websites to protect the passage of an anti-terrorism bill. (CBC)

Federal workers could sue the government over the OPM breach if they wanted. (The Washington Post)

A new documentary features interviews with several of the world's most-wanted hackers, many of whom come from a small, central Romanian town. (BuzzFeed News)

Two flaws affecting hundreds of millions of Android, iOS and Apple products deserve special attention. (KrebsonSecurity)

A look at how baseball teams are increasingly relying on digital data, in light of the FBI probe into the St. Louis Cardinals digital snooping. (The Los Angeles Times)

The owner of the St. Louis Cardinals said he was committed to finding out if anyone in his organization hacked into the Houston Astros' computers. (Reuters)

Is it really hacking if you have a password? (Slate)

Federal CIO: Cyber is "Our most important mission today." (NextGov)

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