Cyber-security legislation in Obama's State of the Union address

US President Obama urged the country's legislative body, Congress, to pass laws that would better protect the country from emerging cyber-threats.

Cyber-security legislation in Obama's State of the Union address
Cyber-security legislation in Obama's State of the Union address

In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama pushed Congress to enact cyber-security legislation to combat emerging cyber-attacks.

“No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” Obama said in his address. “We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber-threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism.  And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information. 

“If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable.  If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe,” he said.

Obama's call to “finally pass” data security legislation, as well a law that would defend entities against cyber-attacks, follows his attempts last week to jump-start the legislative process for a federal data breach statute enforcing a 30-day notification requirement from the discovery of a breach.

Already, Senator Bill Nelson, has announced that he is in the final stages of drafting the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015, which would invoke the 30-day reporting standard, if passed, and prevail over varying state data security and breach notification laws.

Following the late 2014 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, Obama has increasingly addressed the need to thwart cyber-attacks against the US. And in early January, he imposed sanctions against North Korea, which the US government has attributed as being responsible for the Sony attacks.

In a Wednesday interview with SCMagazine.com, Amit Yoran, president of RSA, said that “anytime you get the president of the United States talking about cyber-security, it is a statement about the importance of cyber-security on the world stage.

“It plays a critical role in our modern, interconnected, global economy. And it's important that the President spoke to it and speaks to it,” Yoran said. “It is appropriate that it has his attention, and beyond State of the Union, that there's real concern at the senior-most levels of government and at corporations about cyber-security and what folks need to do about it."

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