GOP platform slams Obama administration on cybersecurity

Republicans argued that the best way to boost the nation’s cybersecurity is to make it easier for the government and industry to share information about cyberthreats with one another.  A GOP-backed cybersecurity bill introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) this spring took a similar approach.

“The government collects valuable information about potential threats that can and should be shared with private entities without compromising national security,” the platform states. “We believe that companies should be free from legal and regulatory barriers that prevent or deter them from voluntarily sharing cyberthreat information with their government partners.”

That stance immediately puts Republicans at odds with many Democratic lawmakers and the Obama administration. The White House has noted that current and former national security officials argue that information sharing alone isn’t enough to adequately protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from a cyberattack that could lead to economic disaster or fatalities.

President Obama has said that cybersecurity legislation should also require companies that operate key infrastructure–such as the power grid, water systems and transportation networks–to meet a set of cybersecurity standards so their computer networks are safeguarded from attacks. 

The GOP platform warns against such an approach, arguing that it would add to more bureaucracy in already bloated federal government.

“The current administration’s laws and policies undermine what should be a collaborative relationship and put both the government and private entities at a severe disadvantage in proactively identifying potential cyberthreats,” the platform says. “The costly and heavy-handed regulatory approach by the current administration will increase the size and cost of the federal bureaucracy and harm innovation in cybersecurity.”

The divide between the two parties on whether critical infrastructure operators should meet new security standards stalled movement on a cybersecurity bill in the Senate earlier this month.

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