Battle lines drawn about government’s role in protecting cyberspace

By William Jackson

May 27, 2011

The battle over the government’s role in protecting critical infrastructure has begun.

On one side are the Obama administration and some security experts who argue that the government, and specifically the Homeland Security Department, needs to be deeply involved to ensure consistent security in privately-owned critical infrastructure. On the other side are some congressional Republicans and business groups who want government to mostly stay out of controlling private industry.

The White House on May 25 sent a Homeland Security Department official rather than Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, saying Congress has no oversight authority over Schmidt.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) chastised the administration for its decision and called for a non-partisan dialog on protecting critical infrastructure.

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