Commerce Secretary Calls for More Protections of Cybersecurity Info-Sharing

In remarks at a cybersecurity forum today, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker called on both industry and government to increase collaboration on cybersecurity in order to better secure critical infrastructure and protect consumers. Summarizing the findings of the recently created Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, Pritzker said that both companies and government agencies must “speak the same language of cyber risk,” while acknowledging that more must be done to remove the structural impediments to collaboration.

“The problem is that today, relationships between regulators and the businesses they regulate are inherently adversarial,” Pritzker said, noting that fear of regulatory action can often deter industry from engaging in candid conversations about cyber risks. “We cannot blame executives for worrying that what starts today as an honest conversation about a cyber-threat could end tomorrow in a ‘punish the victim’ enforcement action.”

To mitigate this, Pritzker recommended  the Federal Communications Commission adopt a “reverse Miranda” protection through which businesses could discuss cyber risk-related matters with regulators without fear of reprisal. She added that such an effort may require congressional action to ensure that those protections are adequately extended “to businesses throughout the digital ecosystem.”