Following the failure of Congress to pass legislation that would protect the nation's computer networks and public infrastructure from cyberattacks, it appears President Barack Obama may take matters into his own hands. Several high-profile figures have urged the president to issue an executive order to protect against possible cyberattacks and it appears he may. An executive order has been drafted and is circulating the White House that would address the threat, The Hill reported.
The draft executive order would establish a voluntary program in which companies operating critical infrastructure, such as dams, electric grids or power plants, would meet best practices and standards issued by the government in order to minimize security holes.
The executive order builds off previously unpassed legislation that was blocked by Senate Republicans last month. It's unclear whether Obama will actually issue the order, but a draft executive order demonstrates that the president is considering the option.
"An executive order is one of a number of measures we’re considering as we look to implement the president’s direction to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyberthreats," said White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. "We are not going to comment on ongoing internal deliberations.”
Some have criticized the idea of a voluntary program as ineffectual and pointless. "The White House needs to step back and say, 'Does this make a meaningful contribution in the near term?'" said James Lewis, director of the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Find me a company that says, 'I'm going to voluntarily agree to be regulated by DHS.' Nobody is going to volunteer to have DHS regulate them."