In his state of the union address, President Obama made several statements regarding his plans to strengthen cybersecurity and beef up laws regarding online crimes. In a 2014 Gallup poll it was found that the crime that most Americans are afraid of now is cyber crime and hacking. And it’s no surprise: 2014 was a huge year in terms of cyber crime, from the high profile Target credit card breach (that actually happened late in 2013) and the extremely talked about case of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking and subsequent cancellation of the movie The Interview in response to hacking threats.
With more and more information online than ever before it is becoming more and more important that cybersecurity not be ignored any longer. And it seems that the American government is slowly getting up to speed. The only disadvantage is that the rate of change in threats in technology seems to move much faster than Congress can keep up given its slow state of movement.
Some of Obama’s proposed ideas include a streamlining of the process in which data breach information is shared, better info sharing between private companies and the government, and increased penalties for cyber crimes.
Cybersecurity measures have stalled in Congress for years, and although Obama is proposing new legislation to force these changes through it is unknown whether or not he can convince Congress to move swiftly. And this is despite the recent high profile attacks on American businesses and financial institutions.
The computer industry is struggling to keep up with the growing intensity, complexity, and sheer number of attacks that have been happening. According to CNet, the Identity Theft Resource Center says that data breaches were up 27.5 percent in 2014 vs 2013, and the amount of Americans that had suffered some sort of identity theft had increased from 11 percent to 18 percent.
Although cybersecurity is generally a bipartisan issue, the issues are a bit murky and Congress is well known for not passing something that it doesn’t have to.
And not everyone agrees with Obama’s proposed changes. One of the worries that some experts have is that the beefed up Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could become “draconian,” and take us backwards rather than forwards in terms of privacy as Mark Jaycox wrote in his recent blog post.
It seems as though these proposals may still need work, and keeping up with the speed of change on the internet will pose a challenge to the government for a long time.