Jeb Bush unveils cybersecurity policy

Jeb Bush pushed for the passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act as well as better promotion of NIST’s cybersecurity framework. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

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Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush unveiled his cybersecurity policy Monday, saying the United States has not kept up with the growing threat of online attacks and calling for the government to work with private industry to shore up defenses.

In a post on his campaign website, Bush says Americans’ confidence in the Internet is eroding due to the failures of the Obama administration when it comes to protecting digital security. He wants to see the federal government take the lead on developing new cybersecurity measures while also spurring public-private partnerships and eschewing new regulations.

“We need to recognize the reality that today we are under cyberattack and we are not keeping up with the threat,” the former Florida governor writes. “We also need to identify clearly the mission for government and the private sector: to work together to ensure the security of the Internet.”

Bush says he wants the government to help spur innovation, rather than setting mandates for cybersecurity. “The government’s power to incentivize and empower must take precedence over its predilection to regulate and constrain,” he said.

Bush calls out the Office of Personnel Management hack, using the breach to highlight what he calls “the cultural failure of the Obama administration” when it comes to cybersecurity.

“We need to change the culture of government, which is impossible absent presidential leadership. Leadership means not hiring political hacks or cronies for critical positions that involve cybersecurity,” Bush writes. “It also means holding executive branch officials accountable for their failure to prioritize cybersecurity and protect the networks under their care. The people who protect our systems are just as important as the technology itself.”

Bush also says the U.S. should be a leader when it comes to Internet governance, coming out against the plan to transfer ICANN oversight to a multistakeholder model. The Commerce Department announced last month it would be delaying that process for another year.

The GOP candidate also pushed for the passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which is currently stalled in the Senate, as well as better promotion of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s cybersecurity framework.

The wide field of GOP contenders has largely been quiet on the cybersecurity front. Only Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Carly Fiorina have made news for any remarks dealing with cybersecurity since announcing their intent on securing the Republican nomination for president.

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