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February 2012 Breakfast Club Recap: Cybersecurity Legislation in Congress, Performance Measures and Critical Infrastructure

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WASHINGTON, February 23, 2012 – Last week, after years of congressional hearings and dozens of legislative drafts, The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 S.2105.  Senators Lieberman, Collins, Rockefeller and Feinstein introduced the bi-partisan legislation following a year of high profile cyberattacks on the Senate, CIA, FBI, Utility companies and most recently, the FTC.  February’s timely Broadband Breakfast Club  “Cybersecurity Legislation in Congress: Where Does it Stand?” brought together a panel of experts representing industry and multiple branches of government, to discern the future of the proposed legislation and possible hindrances towards its adoption.

Ari Schwartz, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, Internet Policy Task Force, United States Department of Commerce, gave the keynote address to kickoff the event.

Event Highlights

Complete Program

Schwartz began by reiterating FBI director Mueller’s statement that cybersecurity in this country is now out pacing the concerns over terrorism.  He started off by explaining the wide variety of threat actors, everyone from teenage hackers in their bedrooms, to organized crime, corporate espionage and the most dangerous, nation state espionage.

Schwartz made it clear that most of the work that has been accomplished in the cybersecurity space has been done through private sector led standards.   He believes that standards based organizations have been responsible for leading us where we are today. “The private sector has done the best job at building a network that is flexible, that has grown, that is open in its nature, and that has been an engine for new ideas and innovation.”

An issue he brought up was the role of the Department of Homeland Security in the proposed comprehensive cybersecurity legislation.  Referring back to the administration’s proposal on where legislation would be most helpful he noted, “What was DHS mandated to do?  Protect critical infrastructure.  The definition is broad and comes from the Patriot Act, but DHS currently has little authority to act in many of the needed sectors.”

Schwartz suggested that in order to give DHS the ability to ensure that the nation’s basic infrastructure is protected,there needs to be a narrowing of the definition of critical infrastructure, and that that could be done through a rulemaking process.  

For core critical infrastructure, Schwartz argued, progress toward cybersecurity will happen through agreed upon standardized performance measures towards which people can build utilizing the whichever technology they deem necessary. He urged a retreat from tech mandates.

Schwartz was then joined on a panel by Larry Clinton, President, Internet Security Alliance, Tommy Ross, Senior Intelligence and Defense Advisory for Senator Harry Reid, and Nick Rossi, Minority Staff Director, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.  Jennifer Martinez, Technology Reporter for Politico stepped in to moderate.

Most of the panel spoke positively about the bi partisan legislative effort, including the feedback from multiple committees, hearings and stakeholders over the past couple of years.

Clinton was the first to address a series of concerns about the legislation.  “We should be enacting creative and effective legislation and we have the opportunity to do that in this congress, the question is, what should “That” be. Industry is in support of info sharing, greater law enforcement, more research and development and educational components.”

Clinton’s biggest concern was the section of the Bill that grants DHS new undetermined authority.  He expressed that many on the industry side do not think the process, as laid out in the bill, would work. Particularly, that it would result in a lag time of 8-10 years before the performance requirements, that would be needed to regulate critical infrastructure, would be ready. “The regulatory process designed to deal with the technology of previous eras does not work with 21st century problems of cyber security.”

The correct model, stated Clinton, would account for market incentives, liability reform, better use of insurance, streamlined regulations, and better use of government procurement, so that there could be a change in the economics of cyber security.  Industry is currently investing enough to fulfill their own cybersecurity responsibility but cannot be asked to invest for national defense purposes as well, as it is not in their shareholders’ interest.

Clinton suggested alternative models such as industry collaboration with the DOJ, DOD and Commerce to create more market incentives for industries to update their systems. That, he said, “would be a dynamic motivator that moves much quicker and, we think, can have more security, faster, and that fits with economics and technology.”  Clinton added, “this Bill only deals with technology and not the economics, it describes how attacks occur but not why they occur.”

Rossi defended the bill by stating that the bill is not a traditional regulatory bill, that they have avoided technology mandates because they are aware that this is an area where technology outpaces regulation. So what they have proposed, is the development of performance requirements that are essentially best practices for the most crucial segments of our critical infrastructure and not something they expect to effect a wide swath of the private sector.  Rossi added that there are protections in the Bill that would “make sure that if there are existing regulations that satisfy the security needs of a sector that they can receive a waiver, and if there is a specific company that has already adopted sufficient security then it to can get a waiver.”

In addition, the Bill incorporates a Title included by Senator Feinstein that calls for improved information sharing “that would benefit not only critical infrastructure, but more broadly, those that are willing to participate in information exchanges with the government.”

Ross continued from Rossi’s statement, by addressing the idea of market incentives.  Ross believes there is challenge in relying solely on the market, as while in some situations there are sufficient incentives towards adoption of stronger security measures, in other cases market forces are inefficient. One issue being a lack of competition in certain markets, as in the energy utility field, where there are limited incentives to build cybersecurity into the network.  A second issue is that there are a wide range of threats and that the low probability, high risk attacks are the ones that could be the most devastating. Yet, the private sector is not ready to invest much in low probability scenarios. “In order to make sure that we are not vulnerable in those attacks, the government needs to be able to intervene in a very targeted manner for those specific attacks.”

Schwartz chimed in to add some thoughts about insurance and the low probability/ high consequence attacks.  “There is no market out there,” said Schwartz, and “mandating a market will not create a market. However, putting together performance requirements can help to build an insurance marketplace.”

In response to Ross’ comment about utilities, Clinton pointed out that the economics of the industry are already built into the regulatory structure and that government already has the mechanism to move in and work with those entities that have existing structures.

In the new world, Clinton continued, where the private sector is on the front lines of national defense, there are going to have to be new incentives.

With regards to insurance, Clinton agreed that insurance is one of the best motivators of pro social behavior and can certainly be used to drive more cybersecurity.  Clinton added that there are some antitrust statutes that need to be changed to get insurance companies to share more information.  “If information was shared, there would be a more realistic assessment of risk that would lower prices.  When you lower prices, more companies get into the market….when you push down prices, more people buy insurance and you get a virtuous cycle.”

One thing Ross mentioned is that they were working out, through DHS’ sector specific performance standards approach, the resolution of artificial market gaps. With regard to energy again, FERC and NRC have two different standards for meeting cybersecurity concerns for which DHS can serve a coordinating function to ensure that standards across sectors where there are regulatory entities, are working at a consistent level with no artificial unevenness.

To clarify performance standards Ross added, their focus is on “performance standards that focus on fixes in network design and are not affected by the exact origin of the individual threats.” He used air Gap.  Scada systems as an example.

Rossi added, “we are looking at existing regulatory regimes, deferring to primary regulators and taking advantage of requirements and regulations that are already in place, we are not trying to create additional layers.”  Rossi reiterated that they are not focusing on the actual technology but rather performance requirements that particular critical infrastructures or assets would need to work towards.  Further, that the liability protections built into the Bill are protections for punitive damages, but they are interested in finding additional ways to build more incentives into the bill.

When asked about the perceived urgency surrounding a potential massive attack on critical infrastructure within the next two years, Ross rejected the notion that it would take 8-10 years to put standards in place.  “The approach embodied in the bill is characterized by a nuanced, sophisticated understanding of the regulatory landscape and the threat landscape.  It is not a questions of whether we should or should not regulate, every sector is different with different needs, activity and regulatory environment.”  He added that “the Bill calls for DHS to do a risk assessment and prioritize the most critical infrastructure.”  In this Bill, DHS will not be charged with implementation, inspections or mandating specific infrastructure. The established performance requirements will be set and then left to the private sector, either through self certification or third party assessment, to determine whether they are in compliance

 

As Deputy Editor, Chris Naoum is curating expert opinions, and writing and editing articles on Broadband Breakfast issue areas. Chris served as Policy Counsel for Future of Music Coalition, Legal Research Fellow for the Benton Foundation and law clerk for a media company, and previously worked as a legal clerk in the office of Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. He received his B.A. from Emory University and his J.D. and M.A. in Television Radio and Film Policy from Syracuse University.

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Broadband Breakfast on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 — A ‘Consumer Confidence’ Survey for Broadband

BroadbandNow launches a “consumer confidence” survey.

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the September 15, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 12 Noon ET — BroadbandNow Presents a ‘Consumer Confidence’ Survey for Broadband

As part of its efforts to provide the latest research on the social, economic and political issues contributing to the digital impact and the impact of broadband on everyday life, BroadbandNow is launching a new survey among broadband leaders enthusiasts. Think of this as a “consumer confidence” survey for broadband.

Recently, there have been many changes regarding broadband at the federal, state, local and industry levels. BroadbandNow and Broadband Breakfast aim to launch the survey at a presentation during Digital Infrastructure Investment 2021, a mini-conference at the Broadband Community Summit in Houston, Texas, from September 27-30, 2021.

Join us on September 15, 2021, for this special Broadband Breakfast Live Online preview of the survey with John Busby, Managing Director of BroadbandNow, and Drew Clark, Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast.

Panelists for the event:

  • John Busby, Managing Director of BroadbandNow
  • John B. Horrigan, Senior Fellow, Benton Institute on Broadband & Society
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

  • John Busby is the Managing Director of BroadbandNow.com, where millions of consumers find and compare local internet options and independent research is published about the digital divide. Prior to BroadbandNow, John held senior leadership positions at Amazon and Marchex. John holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern University.
  • John B. Horrigan, Ph.D., is Senior Fellow at the Benton Institute on Broadband & Society, with a focus on technology adoption and digital inclusion. Horrigan has served as an Associate Director for Research at the Pew Research Center and Senior Fellow at the Technology Policy Institute. During the Obama Administration, Horrigan was part the leadership team at the Federal Communications Commission for the development of the National Broadband Plan (NBP).
  • Drew Clark, Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast, also serves as Of Counsel to The CommLaw Group. He has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers negotiate telecom leases and fiber IRUs, litigate to operate in the public right of way, and argue regulatory classifications before federal and state authorities. He has also worked with cities on structuring Public-Private Partnerships for better broadband access for their communities. As a journalist, Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband, and – building off his work with Broadband Census – was appointed Executive Director of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois under Gov. Pat Quinn. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

BroadbandNow is a data aggregation company helping millions of consumers find and compare local internet options. BroadbandNow’s database of providers, the largest in the U.S., delivers the highest-value guides consisting of comprehensive plans, prices and ratings for thousands of internet service providers. BroadbandNow relentlessly collects and analyzes internet providers’ coverage and availability to provide the most accurate zip code search for consumers.

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WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast on September 1, 2021 — What’s Next for Broadband Infrastructure Legislation?

The bipartisan infrastructure framework faces hurdles before it because law. We’ll discuss the process in Congress.

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See “Citing Flexibility, Broadband Breakfast Panelists Double-Down in Support for Infrastructure Bill,” Broadband Breakfast, September 1, 2021

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the September 1, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 12 Noon ET — What’s Next for Broadband Infrastructure Legislation?

Though it may have passed in the Senate, the bipartisan infrastructure framework still faces hurdles before it can be put into law. How much money can broadband expansion expect to see? Will we see a return of reverse auctions? What kind of obstacles will the bill face?

Join us on September 1, 2021 where we will discuss all of this and more during our Broadband Breakfast Live Online event!

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • Molly O’Leary, Director of Government Affairs, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association
  • Jonathan S. Adelstein, President and CEO, Wireless Industry Association
  • Matthew Polka, President and CEO, ACA Connects
  • Chip Pickering, CEO, INCOMPAS
  • Gary Bolton, President and CEO, Fiber Broadband Association
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

  • Molly O’Leary serves as Director of Government Affairs, NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association, and advocates in Congress and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to influence legislative and regulatory policy on behalf of NTCA members. Prior to joining NTCA, O’Leary worked in the U.S. Senate as a policy advisor to Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., on telecommunications, appropriations and native affairs. She previously served as a legislative aide to Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) for his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Jonathan S. Adelstein has headed Wireless Industry Association since 2012, representing the businesses that build, develop, own, and operate the nation’s wireless infrastructure. He is a former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. He previously served 15 years on the U.S. Senate staff, culminating as a senior legislative advisor to Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
  • Matt Polka is the President and CEO of ACA Connects – America’s Communications Association (ACA), a 700-member Washington, D.C., trade and federal advocacy association of independent, smaller- and medium-sized broadband, cable and phone businesses.  ACAC members serve more than 10 million subscribers in smaller/rural markets and competitive areas in all 50 states.  Matt has been with the organization since 1993.
  • Chip Pickering is the CEO of INCOMPAS and has done so since 2014. He is also a former representative of Mississippi’s 3rd congressional district. He holds a BBA from the University of Mississippi and an MBA from Baylor University.
  • Gary Bolton serves as president and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association — the largest trade association dedicated to all-fiber-optic broadband. Prior to FBA, Gary held executive management positions at two successful venture-backed high-tech start-ups as well as at large publicly traded companies in marketing, product line management and public policy. Gary is currently an adjunct professor in business administration and management science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and he holds an MBA from Duke University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Ligado CEO Doug Smith, Competitive Carriers Association’s Steven K. Berry at Broadband Breakfast for Lunch

Join the Broadband Breakfast Club to attend our premiere Broadband Breakfast for Lunch event on September 8, 2021.

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Ligado Networks CEO Doug Smith

See “Ligado and Competitive Carriers Association Talk Unlocking Broadband Coverage at Lunch Event,” Broadband Breakfast, September 9, 2021

Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Broadband Breakfast for Lunch takes place at 11:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006. Sign up to attend to attend in person through Eventbrite.

You can watch the September 8, 2021, on this page, or join the Zoom Link and participate live online.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021, 12 Noon ET — A Conversation with Ligado President and CEO Doug Smith and Competitive Carriers Association President and CEO Steven K. Berry

Deployment of 5G and next-generation technologies promises tremendous opportunities for consumers across the country, particularly in rural areas. It means major advancements for American businesses, too – especially in energy and manufacturing that are seeking to modernize and digitize their operations.

With the Federal Communications Commission’s unanimous approval, in April 2020, of Ligado Networks’ application to facilitate 5G and Internet of Things services, Ligado has been a company on the move. It has recently announced business deals with Mavenir, Nokia, Rakuten and Saankhya Labs. And, Ligado says, its mobile network offerings for critical infrastructure provides another option for entities in need of 5G services. Join Ligado President and CEO Doug Smith and Competitive Carriers Association President and CEO Steven K. Berry, in conversation with Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark, for this special Broadband Breakfast Club for Lunch event.

Join us IN PERSON on Wednesday, September 8, for the relaunch of the Broadband Breakfast Club — for Lunch!

There are two ways to participate in this event: IN PERSON or LIVE ONLINE. To attend in person, sign up to attend to attend in person through EventbritePlease arrive for lunch at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C., by 11:30 a.m. to be seated for lunch. The program will begin promptly at 12 Noon ET.

SIGN UP FOR SEPTEMBER 8, 2021, EVENT through EVENTBRITE

To participate live online, join the Zoom Link.

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • Doug Smith, President and CEO, Ligado Networks
  • Steven K. Berry, President and CEO, Competitive Carriers Association
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

  • Doug Smith is President and CEO of Ligado Networks and is responsible for directing the vision of the company and managing every aspect of its day-to-day operations. He leads efforts to utilize its state-of-the-art communications assets in operating a network solutions firm designed to extend coverage, increase capacity, and accelerate the delivery of next-generation technology for America’s wireless and critical infrastructure industries. With more than 25 years of domestic and international telecom and wireless industry experience, Doug has engineered, built, and launched nationwide networks for GTE, Nextel, Sprint Nextel, and Clearwire.
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast, also serves as Of Counsel to The CommLaw Group. He has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers negotiate telecom leases and fiber IRUs, litigate to operate in the public right of way, and argue regulatory classifications before federal and state authorities. In addition to representing public and private providers on broadband issues, Drew is actively involved in issues surrounding interconnected Voice-over-Internet-Protocol service, spectrum licenses, robocalling including STIR/SHAKEN, and the provision of video franchises and “over-the-top” copyrighted content.
  • Steven K. Berry is President and CEO of Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers serving rural, regional and nationwide markets in the United States. A seasoned lawyer who worked for Congress (House and Senate), the Executive Branch and as a partner at Holland & Knight law firm, Berry has held positions as the Senior Vice President of Government Relations for three associations, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the CTIA-The Wireless Association, and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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