White House info sharing plan wins favor with ABA

On February 13, 2015, President Obama signed an executive order to encourage and promote the sharing of cybersecurity threat information within the private sector and between the private sector and government. The American Bankers Association subsequently released a statement on the order, essentially calling it a good start.

The president’s plan lays out a framework for “expanded information sharing designed to help companies work together, and work with the federal government, to quickly identify and protect against cyber threats.”

According to a White House fact sheet, the goals of the presidential order are to:

  • encourage the development of information-sharing organizations;
  • develop a common set of voluntary standards for information-sharing organizations;
  • clarify the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to enter into agreements with information-sharing organizations;
  • streamline private-sector companies’ ability to access classified cybersecurity threat information; and
  • pave the way for future legislation.

ABA President and CEO Frank Keating responded as follows:

The steps taken by the administration today will help the business community and government agencies share critical threat information more effectively. Recent cyber-attacks underscore the need to help businesses improve their awareness of threats and enhance their response capabilities. …

[The banking industry is] committed to working with others within the business community — including retailers — to develop a similarly strong and effective mechanism for sharing threat information.

Above all, we need Congress to send a bill to the President that gives businesses legal certainty that they have a safe harbor against frivolous lawsuits when voluntarily sharing and receiving threat indicators and countermeasures in real time and taking actions to mitigate cyberattacks.

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