House Panel: Do Private Nets Need Security Subsidies?
A committee of lawmakers charged with overseeing the cyber side of homeland defense debuted Wednesday with a look at the research projects and priorities at the Department of Homeland Security. Among the questions under consideration is whether critical cyber-infrastructure owned by the private sector requires subsidies for security. Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., asked the question of Charles McQueary, DHS undersecretary of the Science and Technology Directorate, who testified Wednesday. Charging that cyber-defenses in the private sector are “not as high as they could be,” Andrews asked whether the government should subsidize the hardening of infrastructure to the extent that the market fails to. Cyber-security is just one of seven top priorities in the Science and Technology Directorate, McQueary told the cyber-security subcommittee of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security. In addition to protecting data networks, the office is researching ways to prevent the trafficking of nuclear materials and illicit explosives; detect the release of biological agents; prevent emerging technologies from becoming surprise weapons; develop standards for chemical, radiological and nuclear countermeasures; and conduct research for the department’s other units, McQueary said. Full Story