President Obama Unveils New Cyber Security Initiatives

“If we’re going to be connected, then we need to be protected.” – President Barack Obama


President Barack ObamaYesterday, President Barack Obama gave the first in a series of three subsequent speeches rolling out the administration’s efforts to strengthen cyber security and promote individual privacy.  (President Obama’s remarks are available in their entirety here and in summary from the White House Blog here.)  The speech took place at the Federal Trade Commission, marking the first presidential visit to the FTC in nearly 80 years. 

Building upon existing cyber security initiatives (such as Buy Secure and, the President introduced the following new measures to protect consumer data:


  1. The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act:  The proposed legislation will create a national standard concerning consumer notification in the event of a data breach.  Once enacted, the law will require firms to notify consumers within 30 days of a data breach. 
  2. Free Access to Credit Scores: A number of leading financial institutions, such as Bank of America and JPMorganChase, have agreed to offer customers access to their credit scores free of charge.  Credit scores can point to signs of identity theft, and free access to them will enable consumers to take action at the earliest possible warning.  President Obama encouraged other firms to follow suit.
  3. Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights: This proposed legislation, to be introduced by the end of February, will define the rights of consumers in relation to their personal data.  Among others, the bill will include the right to know what information is collected, how it is used, and that it is stored securely.
  4. Student Digital Privacy Act:  This act seeks to ensure that, “data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes — to teach our children, not to market to our children.”  To date, 75 companies have signed the Student Privacy Pledge, committing themselves to protect student data. 

In conjunction with yesterday’s speech, the White House Press Secretary released a Fact Sheet that addresses each of these initiatives in greater detail.  President Obama spoke today at the Department of Homeland Security and will conclude this series of speeches tomorrow in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

For more resources on Cyber Policy or Cyber Crime & National Security, visit the Homeland Security Digital Library (some resources may require HSDL login).


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