Ken Presti at reports that U.S. President Barack Obama is close to issuing an executive order to create a panel to oversee the cybersecurity of the nation’s critical infrastructure.


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The panel would pull representatives from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Justice and the Department of Defence.

The executive order would circumvent Congress and the Senate, whose Republican representatives killed the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.

An at-risk critical infrastructure if not something the U.S. can afford in an environment where the threat landscape is evolving constantly, and the government is likely several generations behind that evolution.

And in the current American political environment, with an embarrassingly partisan legislative arm rendered even less likely to co-operate by an election year, an executive order is the only way anything will get done. Until legislators on both sides of both Houses are prepared to put policy before politics, meaningful discussion of the threat to infrastructure and policies required to ameliorate that threat won’t happen.

We don’t have that partisan logjam in Canada with a majority federal government sitting at the moment, and, in fact, even a minority government can tend to find enough votes to negotiate legislation through.

But what we haven’t seen is a comprehensive strategy for protecting Canada’s infrastructure. Efforts put forward by the governing Conservatives have tended to focus more on law enforcement access (civil liberties and criminal law issues) rather than the real possibility that outside “bad actors” could disrupt Canada’s economy and ability to protect itself by attacking vulnerable infrastructure.

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