US NSA chief backs cybersecurity law

Jul 10, 2012
Photo illustration shows employees working at a company in California. The head of the powerful National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, said the US must adopt a law to protect the country from cyberattacks while insisting that it would respect privacy.

The head of the powerful National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, said the US must adopt a law to protect the country from cyberattacks while insisting that it would respect privacy.

Faced with ever-increasing Internet traffic and the more sophisticated nature of cyberattacks, Alexander said passing such legislation was "vital".

"What I think we really need to be concerned about is when these (attacks) transition from disruptive to destructive," Alexander said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

"The probability for crisis is mounting."

Alexander said any proposed legislation should ensure that the private sector, especially key infrastructure facilities, inform the government of attacks in real time.

The House of Representatives in April passed legislation protecting US businesses and agencies from cyber-attacks, defying a veto threat from the White House, but the Democrat-led Senate never took up the measure.

Critics say such a law would erode by allowing firms to onpass .

Alexander, who also heads the US Cyber Command, sought to calm fears about privacy breaches.

"For situational awareness, we need to be able to see what's going on. I don't mean the government has to be in the network to see," he said.

"Like the police force, like the fire department, they don't see around buildings waiting for a fire to come on, you call them when it happens. In cyberspace, I see very much the same thing in our partnership with industry."

There is no need for the government to read personal emails, he said, assuring the audience that the NSA doesn't "hold data on ."

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cyber Command chief warns of 'remote sabotage'

Jun 03, 2010

The top US cyberwarrior said Thursday that Pentagon networks are probed over six million times a day and expressed concern about a rise in "remote sabotage" attacks on computer systems.

US reviewing ways to fight cyber attacks: general

Sep 24, 2010

The White House is looking at boosting the authority of the US military and other agencies to protect the country's infrastructure from possible cyber attack, a top general said Thursday.

White House set to unveil cyber plan

May 12, 2011

The White House on Thursday is expected to unveil its proposal to enhance the nation's cybersecurity, laying out plans to require industry to better protect systems that run critical infrastructure like the electrical grid, ...

Destructive cyber attack inevitable: NSA chief

Feb 18, 2011

The US National Security Agency (NSA) chief on Thursday urged top computer security specialists to harden the nation's critical infrastructure against inevitable destructive cyber attacks.

House OKs cybersecurity bill despite veto threat

Apr 27, 2012

The House ignored Obama administration objections Thursday and approved legislation aimed at helping stop electronic attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure and private companies.

US bill seeks to improve cyber information-sharing

Nov 30, 2011

A bill intended to increase sharing of information about cybersecurity threats between government and the private sector was introduced in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dogbert
not rated yet Jul 10, 2012
"Like the police force, like the fire department, they don't see around buildings waiting for a fire to come on, you call them when it happens. In cyberspace, I see very much the same thing in our partnership with industry."


So, the question is why he thinks we need a law to allow businesses to inform the government when they notice a foreign cyber attack. We don't need a law to allow people to call the fire department.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.