Cybersecurity: An Urgent Call for New Legislation

Liza Rizzo, Scripps College

Abstract

When a computer program is written, thousands of lines of code are comprised into an electronic system, which eventually yields a webpage, a phone or computer application, or electronic interface. Due to the recent demands for faster and faster innovation, it is likely that a program will be written quickly and with many bugs, which are essentially glitches in the code. Every bug written into a program is a door for a hacker to access the internal system. It is nearly impossible to think that the United States would ever to be able to write bug-less programs, so other protection measures need to be in place. It is quite difficult to produce a proper defense system without tremendous knowledge of current hacking activities. Unfortunately for the United States, our personal and civil liberties stand between cybersecurity legislation and our national security. Many companies in the private sector are withholding valuable cyber information in order to protect their reputations. It has been confirmed that many corporations do not disclose when they have been hacked due to the financial and reputational expenses that often trump any current losses. With disclosure laws, corporations are required to tell their customers when their personal information has been compromised, and although these types of laws have good intentions, they are greatly slowing down our defense system and incentivizing corporations to internally absorb the costs and not share this critical information with our government.