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The chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology plans to introduce legislation this year to mandate computer security standards for the private sector.
Speaking at an e-government conference Thursday, Adam Putnam (R.-Fla.) said neither the government nor private enterprise has done a good job in securing the nation's electronic infrastructure.
Putnam cited as an example the consistent failure of federal agencies to pass annual security audits. Since private businesses have not totally secured their networks, Putnam said Congressional mandates have become necessary.
He also had critical comments for Congress and the Bush Administration, saying there was a lack of "attention and understanding" as to the nature of the threat. Congress, Putnam contended, has not exercised the proper level of oversight for government security purchases and procedures.
Putnam said his legislation would take "a meaningful approach to securing cyber architecture," but offered no specific details on the bill.
Also speaking at the conference were Pete Sessions (R.-Tex.), vice chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, and Zoe Lofgren (D.-Calif.), the ranking member on the subcommittee.
Both supported Putnam's statements and promised their subcommittee would shortly begin hearings on possible federal standards for network security.
Sessions said the government had been "asleep at the wheel" when it came to cyberscurity matters and Lofgren added that many aspects of the governbment's approach to securing its networks were in the "dark ages."