PROTECTING OUR ECONOMIC AND NATIONAL SECURITY


Date: April 27, 2012

By: Bob Goodlatte

Cybersecurity has quickly become a major national security problem for the U.S.  Every day, American businesses are targeted by foreign actors like China and Russia with malicious cyber attacks and theft.  These attacks result in huge losses of valuable property and sensitive information.  U.S. companies have lost vital information such as client lists, merger and acquisition data, pricing information, and the results of research and development efforts due to increased cyber attacks.  While it is difficult to calculate an exact amount, estimates of loss from this kind of digital pillaging could be as much as $400 billion per year worldwide. This is a direct threat to our economic prosperity, privacy and way of life.

Over the past few years, China has been one of the biggest offenders.  China alone has stolen information from American companies equivalent to 50 times the current print collection of the U.S. Library of Congress.  In fact, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission highlights an incident from April 2010, when for 18 minutes nearly 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic was redirected through computer servers in China. Emails and Internet traffic to and from such vital government sites as the U.S. Senate, the Department of Commerce, NASA, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Departments of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force as well as commercial sites such as Dell, Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM were hijacked and manipulated by China Telecom, a state-controlled Internet carrier.

It is clear - we need to enhance our nation’s cybersecurity readiness.  While the federal government protects itself against cyber espionage by using both classified cyber threat intelligence and unclassified threat information, the vast majority of the private sector does not get the benefit of the classified intelligence that the government has in its possession.

Recently the House passed, with my support, bipartisan legislation that helps to address the lack of information between government agencies and the private sector.  The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act enables cyber threat sharing and provides clear authority for the private sector to defend its own networks, all while providing strong protections for privacy and civil liberties. To ensure that Americans’ civil liberties are properly protected, I offered an amendment, which was adopted with overwhelming bipartisan support, to limit the types of information that can be shared with the government.  Specifically, my amendment carefully narrows the definitions of the key terms in the bill ensuring strong limits on what information the private sector can identify, obtain, and share with others.

Cyber security is without a doubt a threat to both our national security and our economic security. The government must take steps to protect our vulnerable systems.  The security of our national infrastructure is of the utmost importance.  As Co-Chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus and Chairman of the House Republican Technology Working Group I will continue working to ensure that our nation’s information networks – both government and private networks -- are protected from future cyber attacks

CONGRESSMAN BOB GOODLATTE
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