President Obama has decided that because Congress has yet to come to a decision on cybersecurity legislation, he will take care of it through executive order.
Again, he is ignoring Congress and going around our system of government, acting as a dictator and doing what he wants.
Obama’s draft has not been circulating through Congress. Sources say few, if any; lawmakers have seen the executive order. Again, Obama’s plan is being drafted in secret and leans heavily on the Lieberman-Collins bill that gave so many in Congress heartburn.
It wasn’t passed for a reason. Our elected representatives didn’t like it.
Senator Harry Reid spent most of this year pushing Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation sponsored by Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
Harry Reid wants private networks to be placed under the control of the Department of Homeland Security. That means private enterprise will become a state-run behemoth, and your sensitive, personal information will be less secure and more prone to hackers.
And the government will have access to your information, of course, and they can do anything they want with it.
You and I fought against this legislation and were instrumental in stopping it from passing. But now, Obama has decided he must step in and take care of it.
Obama’s draft EO leaked, and here is what we know. His cybersecurity order:
- Asks industry to “voluntarily” submit…(we have to ask, under threat of what?) cybersecurity threat information to the government, with the provision that the data won’t be used for regulatory purposes (sure) or against companies (even though the Obama administration has a history of auditing and harassing those who don’t agree with them).
- Requires the Department of Homeland Security to do privacy assessments on the data they collect…comforting, considering the fact that our government cannot keep anything private.
- Assures us that First Amendment protections will apply to how the government identifies critical infrastructure…so long as they don’t re-write or re-interpret the definition of the First Amendment, of course.
- Addresses acquisition and preferences (i.e., tampers with the free market by leaning on companies to do certain things and purchase specific technology demanded by the government), so companies can meet the standards set by the DHS.
- Calls for a report discussing possible “incentives” and recognition by the government. Again, what will happen to those companies who “voluntarily” participated but weren’t deemed worthy of coronation by the Obama administration? What happens to those companies who refuse to participate?
We need to lean on Congress to pass a less-intrusive bill by the end of the year so Obama will not push his executive order through. If he wins the election in November, he will be even more eager to push through this EO and whatever else he has brewing on his desk that we don’t know about yet.
Steve Bucci of the Heritage Foundation took to his blog to denounce the President’s latest runaround: “The President should resist the temptation to ladle on a new regulatory bureaucracy (or bureaucracies) simply to satisfy the need to ‘do something. If it is not done right, it will do damage. Let the debate continue until it is done right, Mr. President. It’s called the democratic process, and it invariably provides the best answers, even if it takes awhile.”
Even Susan Collins, the sponsor of the original bill with Joe Lieberman, is concerned about Obama’s dismissal of Congress” “I’m not for doing by executive order what should be done by legislation. An executive order could send the unintended signal that congressional action is not urgently needed.”
We don’t need Presidential action and government regulation to tell companies how to do their jobs. Jim Lewis is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He says many companies who manage vital computer systems in our country right now are already heavily regulated.
He also points out that the Office of Management and Budget is working on security standards for federal computer systems, and those standards could easily form the basis for private companies.
In other words, why does President Obama feel the need to have private companies fall under the control of the Department of Homeland Security?
President Obama wrote a doom and gloom op-ed in The Wall Street Journal warning of the terrible things that will happen should cybersecurity not pass.
…Just like terrible things would happen if we didn’t pass the stimulus
…Just like terrible things would happen if we didn’t pass the DREAM Act
…Just like terrible things would happen if we didn’t pass Net Neutrality
…Just like terrible things would happen if we didn’t pass Obamacare
The Democrats drafted cybersecurity behind closed doors and refused to let Republicans in on the negotiations. But, when they realized the bill wasn’t going to go anywhere without bipartisan support, they changed their tune. Then, they begged Republicans to work with them, and John McCain was the leader on compromise legislation.
But, no one liked that either. So as has become the way of the land, President Obama decided he would take care of it on his own and issue an executive order.
The cybersecurity bill is broad and vague and opens up the Internet to a host of government regulations and control. It is ill-conceived and no one knows quite where it will lead—but those opposed to it know the more we open private enterprise up for government control, the worse off we are.
Obama’s Cybersecurity EO means the government will become the master regulator of every activity you participate in online—whether it’s banking, shopping, playing games, engaging in social media, or posting on a blog—because if they deem what you are doing a “threat” or a “cybersecurity emergency,” they can have the DHS shut you down.
This is simply another power grab, another attack on our free market system. It’s another way to put another industry under the umbrella of U.S. government control.
We must lean on Congress to protect our system of government, and we must get Obama out of office in November.