Former CIA Director calls on public to demand cybersecurity legislation


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Former CIA Director John Brennan is urging Americans to encourage federal lawmakers to push forward cybersecurity-focused legislation, regulations and other rules so that the U.S. is better prepared in cyberspace.

“You all need to continue to put the pressure on your elected representatives in Congress to take this matter seriously,” Brennan said Wednesday during a speech at the Gartner Risk and Security Summit. “People frequently say it’s going to take a 9/11 in the cyber realm in order for us as a country to be able to come to terms and deal more effectively with cyber challenges.”

“A lot of work needs to be done in the halls of Congress, as well as in the executive branch, in order to allow the government to deal with the challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

Brennan, who served during the Obama administration and was responsible for standing up a new wing of the spy agency dedicated solely to the development and integration of innovative digital capabilities, spoke to an audience largely made up of private sector cybersecurity executives.

The call to action comes after the White House introduced its much anticipated cybersecurity executive order, a largely uncontroversial and expansive policy directive which seeks to reexamine the federal government’s defensive posture and provide a baseline for future progress.

“A lot of our government structures, organizations, legal foundations and frameworks were developed in the 20th century with 20th century technologies and processes in mind,” said Brennan. “The past 30 years have just totally transformed the way we operate as a society.”

Speaking more broadly about the government’s role in regulating the internet, Brennan explained that private sector engagement will be critical in effectively defining tomorrow’s legal framework. In this scope, Brennan — like other leaders in government have said in the past — proposed for a better relationship between the public and private sectors.

“Ultimately, I believe the solution will be an unprecedented partnership between the government and the private sector,” Brennan said of combatting hackers and other criminal activity online.

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CIA, Congress, cybercrime, espionage, hacking, Intelligence, John Brennan, legislation