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Trump Halts Executive Order on Data Security Accountability

The signing of the executive order was canceled Tuesday afternoon, but the document is still expected to be signed at a later date.

Despite an election cycle peppered with cyberattack scandal, President Donald Trump abruptly canceled executive action focused on cybersecurity and holding cabinet staff accountable.

According to Politico, Trump was slated to sign the order to improve cybersecurity accountability Jan. 31, but abruptly canceled, rescheduling for "the near fututre." 

Trump has given numerous statements regarding his intention to increase America’s data security, promising to “hold cabinet secretaries and agency heads accountable, totally accountable, for the cybersecurity of their organizations.”

The executive action was meant to improve government networks, but it remains unclear just how the order would have improved the cyberpolicies of the Obama administration.

A senior administration official, cited in the Politico report, outlined a part of the order that would require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to study federal data security across government agencies and issue recommendation to address weak spots.

The president also included that the order would call on the secretary of Homeland Security to work more closely with the private sector to improve critical infrastructure.

“We will protect our critical infrastructure such as power plants and electrical grids,” Trump said. “The electrical grid problem is a problem, but we'll have it solved relatively soon.”

Although the senior administration official said that Congress would be a “key partner” in the order's implementation, he followed that it would not call for the allocation of new funding for computer systems and updates, nor would it require legislative action.

Additionally, the executive order would not address alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election, but it would support the divisive Department of Homeland Security decision to label the election system as critical infrastructure.

Several former cyberofficials from the Obama administration have stepped forward to question how this order could change the current federal law, as the already law in place calls on agency leaders to create an approach and application to data security within their respective agencies.

The executive order is still expected to be signed, but further information on timing has yet to be provided.

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