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FCC Using Cybersecurity To Regulate Internet

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FCC plans private sector cybersecurity role

David Perera
Aug 13, 2010

Yet another federal agency envisions a possible broader role for itself in securing private sector Internet infrastructure. The Federal Communications Commission issued on August 9 a notice (.pdf) soliciting public comment on an anticipated FCC plan to address vulnerabilities to core Internet protocols, as well as cybersecurity threats to all end users.

“Cybersecurity is a vital topic for the Commission because end user lack of trust in online experiences will quell demand for broadband services,” the notice states. The National Broadband Plan calls for the FCC to issue a Cybersecurity Roadmap. A plan, the FCC says in the notice, should be completed by November 2010.

Meanwhile, the FCC says it will accept comments through September 23, and encourages notes on what are the most vital cybersecurity vulnerabilities, what role–if any–the FCC should take in addressing them, and recommendations for what entity should fulfill the role of addressing those vulnerabilities if it’s not the FCC.

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What role federal agencies should play in private sector cybersecurity is an increasing topic of debate. The Commerce Department is also soliciting public comment on whether it should set up a third party verification system of website security.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

“Let’s not pretend we live in an unregulated system now,” said Philip Reitinger, deputy undersecretary of national protection and programs directorate at the Homeland Security Department, during a July 27 panel that discussed the Commerce notice.

Defense Department has also suggested it could play a role in securing the networks of its industrial base and a cybersecurity bill proposed by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) would allow the federal government to impose emergency measures onto private infrastructure, such as the wholesale blocking of Internet traffic from a particular source.

However, federal cybersecurity efforts have come under criticism from the Government Accountability Office, which found in a recent report that no clear cybersecurity strategy exists.

The GAO report portrays a chaotic, interconnected federal cyberspace policy field populated by many players and littered with many hurdles. It attributes the current state to an absence of top-level leadership.

For more:
– download the FCC public notice (.pdf)
– download the Commerce Department notice of inquiry (.pdf)
– read GAO report 10-606 (.pdf)
– go to the THOMAS page of the Lieberman cybersecurity bill

This article was posted: Friday, August 13, 2010 at 4:22 am

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