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Senate weighs bigger government role in cyber security

Lawmakers are proposing increased government regulation of computer security for "critical" businesses like nuclear power plants, water utilities and chemical factories.

Jeremy Hobson: Now to Washington where the Senate is working on some legislation this week aimed at boosting the nation's defenses against cyber-crime.

But as our Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale reports, utility companies oppose new regulation because they say it allows too much government intrusion into their business.


John Dimsdale: Most of America’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by private companies. Increasingly, they use networked software, making them vulnerable to hackers.

Jacob Olcott is a cyber security expert at Good Harbor Consulting. He says given the potential catastrophic consequences of an attack...

Jacob Olcott: Many people are coalescing around the idea that the government does play a role, some role, in protecting those systems and assets.

But companies are warning Congress not to add to their regulatory burden. Liesyl Franz, for example, with TechAmerica says new government requirements could make it tougher to react.

Liesyl Franz: Probably the most salient example is the time it takes to devise and promulgate and enforce a regulatory framework vis-a-vis the time it takes for a cyber attack to occur.

Franz says instead of imposing new regulations, government should make it easier for industries that are under threat to quickly share information.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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