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House committee to hear recommendations on cybersecurity for next president

As the country continues to focus more and more attention on the November election, some security industry insiders are beginning to agitate for more attention to be paid to information security, regardless of who’s in the White House next year. The House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity and Science and Technology will hold a hearing Tuesday afternoon to hear recommendations from several witnesses on what the next president should do to bring the country’s critical infrastructure up to par.

The list of witnesses includes Paul Kurtz, a security consultant and former security adviser to President Bush, as well as David Powner, director of information management issues for the Government Accountability Office, and others. Kurtz is a member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency, an organization that includes dozens of industry heavyweights as well as Reps. Jim Langevin and Michael McCaul. The commission has been developing a plan to help the next president address cybersecurity issues, and don’t be surprised if the recommendations that are aired tomorrow are sweeping.

There’s a feeling in the industry that the federal government can do much more not only to secure its own networks but to help and encourage private enterprises to do the same. On the government side of things, that could mean something as drastic as revamping the entire federal information security apparatus, or simply implementing some of the dozens of recommendations that various government and private-sector organizations have made over the last eight years.

Hearings are nice and I applaud the committee for calling some much-needed attention to this issue. But it’s still going to come down to whether Barack Obama or John McCain considers cybersecurity a priority and is willing to spend some money and political capital on it.

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