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Posted at 11:54 AM ET, 02/13/2013

Politicians, privacy advocates weigh in on cybersecurity exec order

Tech industry leaders and observers were quick to weigh in on the cybersecurity executive order that President Obama released Tuesday in conjunction with State of the Union address.

As The Washington Post reported, the order directs the Commerce Department to work with federal agencies and industries, such as banking and electricity, to come up with standards for sharing information on cyber threats.

In the past, such provisions put privacy advocates on guard, since it wasn’t clear how the data-sharing would still maintain consumer privacy. The order directs regulators to conduct a privacy audit and to make sure that privacy protections are based on the Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Information Practice Principles from the beginning.

In a statement, the Center for Democracy and Technology praised Obama for an order that addresses privacy concerns from the beginning of the design process rather than after the fact.

"By explicitly requiring adherence to fair information practice principles, the order adopts a comprehensive formulation of privacy,” said the group’s president, Leslie Harris. “The annual privacy assessment, properly done, can create accountability to the public for government actions taken in the name of cybersecurity.”

Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to move forward on cybersecurity legislation; leading politicians discussing the issue said that they supported those efforts.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, respectively, said that they would work with the administration to shepherd new legislation through Congress as quickly as possible.

House Republicans said they were glad the order establishes the Department of Homeland Security as a leader on cybersecurity issues, but that the administration should be careful to take a hands-off approach to legislation.

By  |  11:54 AM ET, 02/13/2013

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