ACP Urges Congress to Fund Internet Security Programs

ACP URGES CONGRESS TO FUND INTERNET SECURITY PROGRAMSGroup Calls for Balanced Approach that Rejects Technological Mandates
Washington, DC— Americans for Computer Privacy (ACP) Executive Director Bruce Heiman today called on Congress to fund key programs to protect the nation’s critical information infrastructure before adjourning. In a letter sent to all Members of Congress, Heiman also urged Congress to continue opposing “attempts to use legitimate threats to computer security as a justification for granting to the government new powers of regulation or surveillance, or for imposing new burdens upon industry.”

After noting that Congress already voted to increase computer security funding in the Defense Appropriations Bill by $150 million, the ACP letter states that “Congress also should adequately fund three other programs in the FY 2001 Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations bill to help protect our nation’s critical infrastructure.” Those programs are the Critical Information Assurance Office, the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), and additional attorneys and funding for the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat cyber crime.

According to the ACP letter, “CIAO has played a vital role in reaching out to the private sector as well as coordinating and integrating critical infrastructure protection plans among the federal agencies. We urge Congress to provide funding for CIAO to continue its important work.” ACP also supports more funding for NIPC because ACP “believes it is very important for the government to share information, especially warnings about particular threats, with the private sector. We have been encouraged by the approach taken by the FBI’s NIPC in this regard.”

In addition to advocating additional funding for key programs, Heiman wrote that ACP “strongly believes that new government controls, technological mandates, or federally- imposed standards will not lead to better critical information infrastructure protection. Indeed, such commands would stifle innovation, artificially channel R&D;, and harm the very infrastructure that needs protection.

“Congress should adopt a balanced approach to protect our nation’s critical information infrastructure that adequately funds programs for law enforcement and government computer security (including funding for information systems security personnel that can actually perform the work) and reject efforts to impose technological mandates on the private sector or authorize widespread government surveillance or monitoring,” concluded Heiman.

ACP is a broad-based coalition that brings together more than 100 companies and 40 associations representing high- tech, telecommunications, manufacturing, financial services and transportation, as well as law enforcement, civil- liberties, pro- family, taxpayer groups, and over 6000 individuals. ACP was formed to focus on issues at the intersection of electronic information and communications, privacy rights, law enforcement, and national security.