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  • Morning Bell: Do You Trust the Government with Your Computer?

    Do you trust the federal government to keep your personal data safe? What about your business’s records and trade secrets?

    If you answered “no,” you have good reason—the federal government has had 13 breaches and failures of its own cybersecurity just in the last six months.

    Yet the President and his allies in the Senate are pushing forward to regulate America’s cyber-doings, without any clues about how much this will cost us or how it will work.

    It’s become the norm with this President—if Congress fails to accomplish his objectives, he goes around it with executive orders and federal regulations. He’s doing it again. Congress did not pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 before the election, so the President has issued a draft of an executive order to put much of that legislation in place without lawmakers voting.

    Not to be left behind, though, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may try to get another vote on the bill before the end of the year—some are saying as soon as this week.

    If the idea of cybersecurity—trying to secure all of the country’s sensitive computer networks and data—sounds abstract, that’s because it is. It’s so abstract, in fact, that the legislation and executive order our leaders are pushing offer few details about what they would actually do, other than piling more confusing regulations onto businesses.

    When you think about it, the idea of the federal government trying to be on the cutting edge of technological security is pretty laughable. As Heritage’s David Inserra notes:

    Simply put, government regulations usually take 24–36 month to complete, but the power of computers doubles every 18–24 months. This means that any standards developed will be written for threats that are two or three computer generations old.

    A federal government that stays hopelessly behind the curve and can’t even secure its own networks doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. But oh, it can regulate!

    The President’s executive order would give multiple federal agencies new power to regulate businesses. It would work much like Obamacare, which passed with few details but gave agencies like Health and Human Services a blank check to write regulations. One of the incentives it may use to keep businesses in line is favoritism in awarding federal contracts—businesses that met the government’s cybersecurity standards could be moved to the head of the line.

    Heritage visiting fellow Paul Rosenzweig will explain in a new Issue Brief due out tomorrow that “this order will likely be very significant and very costly while not providing important cybersecurity solutions, such as effective information sharing.”

    How much will it cost businesses to comply with all these new (yet perpetually outdated) regulations?

    We don’t know.

    Will the standards be voluntary or mandatory?

    Also unknown.

    Can companies share information about cyber-threats they have detected, with confidence that their sensitive information will be protected?

    No guarantees.

    With so many unanswered questions, the executive order—or the legislation—would create massive headaches for businesses and could hinder innovation. Just what the economy needs.

    Read more:

    The Alarming Trend of Cybersecurity Breaches and Failures in the U.S. Government Continues by Paul Rosenzweig

    Cybersecurity Act of 2012 Is Back, but Same Problems and Questions Remain by David Inserra

    Quick Hits:

    • Before his resignation citing an extramarital affair, former CIA Director David Petraeus had personally investigated the Benghazi terrorist attack, reports ABC News.
    • Strikes continue in Europe. “Hundreds of flights were cancelled, car factories and ports were at a standstill and trains barely ran in Spain and Portugal where unions held their first ever coordinated general strike,” reports Reuters.
    • “Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law broadening the definition of treason which opponents say could be used to smother dissent and put almost anyone who has contact with foreigners at risk,” reports Reuters.
    • In addition to cybersecurity, CNN has more tech issues facing President Obama.
    • The U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty is moving again. Heritage’s Ted Bromund tells us what this means and what to expect.
    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to Morning Bell: Do You Trust the Government with Your Computer?

    1. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Wake-up America. It's offical. Obama is openly proven he IS a socialist dictator. He, and his Dem lackeys in Washington, do whatever they please and cannot be stopped. This is not the Obama government "hopelessly behind the curve". This is Obama controlling every aspect of our lives, not by just stopping Americans from sharing information with other Americans about how he is destroying our freedoms and liberty, but having his government know the tiniest details of our personal lives so that they can strike out at whatever they deem unsuitable under socialist dictates.

      • Bob Smith says:

        Definition of FASCISM
        1often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
        2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality — J. W. Aldridge>

    2. Frank says:

      Do you trust the federal government with your computer?

      Absolutely not! big government = big evil. The smaller the government = the less the evil (as long as basic law & order can be maintained & the nation can be defended).

      Neither can the federal government be trusted with "coining money". We now have totally counterfeit paper money & coins in circulation absolutely in violation of Constitutional guidelines. Yet nobody fixes the problem or throws the crooks in jail.

      The federal usurpers & crooks will bankrupt the nation & take our wealth & freedoms away. American voters are totally blind.

    3. Ben C. says:

      For me, if Louisiana secedes from the country I will be moving to New Orleans. The only vote that counts are foot steps. As I see it we have passed the tipping point of return and the implosion of our country is inevitable. I suspect liberal left have never read a history book to realize history always repeats itself.

    4. Kupe says:

      Barack Obama Executive Orders first term: 140
      George W. Bush Executive Orders first term: 171
      Bill Clinton Executive Orders first term: 200
      George H. W. Bush Executive Orders first term: 166
      Ronald Reagan Executive Orders first term: 211
      Jimmy Carter Executive Orders first term: 320
      Gerald Ford Executive Orders first term: 169

      Looks like Carter wins the Executive Order pool for the last 40 years. Contrarily, Obama is in last place on that list – he hasn't even signed as many as Ford did in his abbreviated term. Seems like you would focus on something else given the current president's relative restraint when it comes to wielding the Executive Order hammer.

      • Todd says:

        Not a very useful comparison if you do not know what the executive orders mandate. They can executive order all the speed limits in National Parks they want. But only a couple of executive orders that trash the Constitution are much worse than a thousand that don't.

      • Chet Field says:

        As others have pointed out, the numbers are irrelevant since the constitutionality is the real issue. One of the scarier orders Obama has signed is the NDAA. Check it out. And, beyond even the executive orders, even more ominous are all the regulations being written by unelected bureaucrats in government agenices like the EPA, etc. Cap & Trade won't pass? Not a problem. EPA can "enact" it. Obamacare law lacking in specifics? HHS will handle that. My question: when will Congress grow a pair and take back their constitutional authority?

      • Oldcodger says:

        Obama didn't need to sign nearly as many EOs to accomplish whatever he wanted to accomplish compared to his predecessors because he appointed socialist to his cabinet positions, to his ring of czars and department heads.

        Whenever he wanted something accomplished, he just gave the czar, cabinet head, or agency head marching orders, and all those un-elected morons started writing "laws" to do his bidding, i.e., EPA- cap & trade, etc.

      • John says:

        well if you would have done your home work Jimmy Carter is a liberal and we all know liberals have the same agenda, and that is to do away with our constitution when it does not meet their needs, and Obama has clearly went against the constitution a number of times and is about to do it again. So before you defend the liberals know what your defending or at the very least know what your talking about cause from your remarks you haven't gotten a clue.

      • Stirling says:

        The previous presidents were not making executive orders to dismantle America's greatness. Kupe it's the policies (that are Anti-American in nature) caused by the orders which are such a concern.. Even President Clinton's orders were not distructive, and didn't have such an anti-business rehtoric.

    5. ceecee says:

      >>Seems like you would focus on something else given the current president's relative restraint when it comes to wielding the Executive Order hammer. <<

      Now that you have compiled the list, why don't you take it a notch farther and compare WHAT the executive orders were FOR ? Why not identify which ones cut in to personal freedoms the most ?Why not check to see….. Oh, wait…. you probably would not be able to see any difference.

    6. Jay says:

      I don't trust the government with the shovel ready jobs in my backyard created by my dog Abby!

    7. This government is not to be trusted.

    8. Joan Squitieri says:

      Unfortunately, I no longer trust this governmrnt with anything that has to do with me personally. I want nothing but for this government to leave us alone & stay out of our personal lives. this is no longer the free Country that I was brought up in & the only good part of government that remains is the Pentagon, our military personnel, those who put their lives on the line everyday to preserve & maintain this Nation's freedom, which is quickly being destroyed by Obama & his Communist administration who seek to destroy this Country.

      • Juan Martinez says:

        What about CDC and NIH? I think they do very important work that benefits all americans.

        • Wonder Warthog says:

          CDC has been party to some MAJOR scams that you're not even aware of! Rest assured, someday you WILL BE.

    9. donna says:

      What IS the Cybersecurity Act of 2012? what are the details?

      • Clearhead says:

        Don't worry about the small stuff, Donna — just let them pass the bill so we can find out what's in it.

    10. Bobbie says:

      Who asked for government? Why would anyone trust anything in government authority of unknown people and their limitless obligatory costs and unknown processes of illegitimate reasons who could just as well be the enemy of all said protected? Why would anyone trust "people" in control that are frail and unwilling to accept the empowerment of the peoples constitution to the point of abusing their respected role in favoring personal misinterpretation over the compliance of it's truth in strength of the people but when that doesn't work, little government people defy the people's constitution by using unfair privilege to execute orders against it? This is what the majority of Americans want? A government that freely disregards their duty to take charge over everything government wants? Where's the voice of the people? Oh that's right. Obama says "it's what Americans want" when Americans don't know what he's doing…

    11. James J. Rieker says:

      The only reason the U.S. Goverment has had 13 breaches and failures of its cybersecurity is Obama and his Cohorts many have gave our enemies the passwords. I'm only kidding I am sure there is a reasonable explanation!! we just haven't heard any yet!!

    12. john w says:

      Donna that is exactly what the rest of the American people would like to know, at least those of us who aren't liberals and truly do care about this country.

    13. Mississauga Dad says:

      I work in the mobile device control software arena. If people had any idea whatsoever about what can be done remotrely to and with their iPads, iPhones, Android devices etc. they would absolutely refuse to believe it. These devices are nothing less than a 24 hour a day total spying and recodrding device of absolutely everything you do. And all of this information is totally accessible to essentially anybody who wants it. What is worse is that these devices can be remotely instructed, without you even knowing it, to gather information, record information, take photos, etc. Furthermore, courts can in most cases demand access to everything on these devices. I do not own a smartphone or similar device. I never will. I have a simple cell phone. It makes phone calls, period. If you are concerned about privacy dump your smartphone type device and get the simplest cell phone you can.

    14. Perdido says:

      "Government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a cruel master."– Gen. George Washington

    15. Wayne, La. says:

      The private sector has done a very good job in protecting computers. One entity or institution will not provide an adequate means to protect anyone. It is subject to it's own flaws, bureaucratic inefficiencies and constitutional improprieties.

    16. Stirling says:

      In the past the "private sector" has always led the way in creating the tools to meet the needs of the government.. Are we to belive that the government (which is slow to react to anything) can handle a fast moving threat, I doubt it with the ever increasing bearucratic mess that is being created. The government shouldn't dictate edicts, but should consult (based on private sector strengths) to address the problem..

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