WASHINGTON – President Obama on Tuesday (Feb. 12) signed an executive order that lays the groundwork for an industry-developed cybersecurity framework designed to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. The order also clarified how the government will determine what elements of infrastructure are considered “critical,” but specifically excluded information-technology products. The following statement should be attributed to Craig Silliman, Verizon senior vice president, public policy:
“Verizon agrees with the administration that the security of cyberspace is a national imperative. Verizon and others in the communications sector take significant steps to protect the security and privacy of their customers, as well as the integrity of America’s communications networks. Verizon is hopeful that the executive order will help improve the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure through public-private collaboration that will produce an industry-led, flexible framework that enables critical infrastructure owners and operators to innovate and promptly and effectively respond to continually evolving cyberthreats.
“However, the order complicates this by failing to recognize that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. Categorically excluding relevant entities in the Internet ecosystem undermines our shared objective of protecting critical broadband assets.
“The administration has acknowledged that the order cannot address all of the important policy issues needed to improve our national cybersecurity posture. Federal legislation is necessary. Verizon supports bipartisan, consensus-based legislation that boosts ongoing cybersecurity efforts by promoting the sharing of cyberthreat information among communications companies and federal agencies, and provides appropriate liability protections and consumer privacy safeguards.
“Now that the executive order has addressed the issue of critical infrastructure protection, we urge the administration to work with Congress to achieve the rapid enactment of bipartisan information-sharing legislation.”