The Washington Post Quotes Stewart Baker on Cybersecurity in Private Sector

September 20, 2012

The Washington Post quoted Steptoe partner Stewart Baker, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, in an article titled “Cybersecurity should be more active, official says.”  The article, published on September 16, discusses the need for stronger partnerships between the FBI, the private sector, law enforcement, and the courts to bear against cyberattacks.

In his first interview since leaving his post as the FBI’s top cyber lawyer, Steven Chabinsky tells The Washington Post that the federal government has taken a “failed approach” to cybersecurity, with efforts that focus on reducing vulnerabilities rather than actively deterring attackers.  The article also states that the role of the private sector in aggressively defending itself has become a hot topic in cyber circles.

The issue, says Mr. Baker,  is that entering another party’s server and deleting or encrypting data could, under some circumstances, violate a number of state and federal laws — including those against computer fraud or trespassing.

He says that there is a legal argument to be made that such an action is a reasonable defense of one’s property.

“We all know from watching Westerns the difference between a lynch mob and a posse that’s been deputized,” Mr. Baker says.  “Finding ways to provide appropriate oversight and yet use the substantial resources that the private sector can bring to bear is something we need to do.”

The full article can be read at The Washington Post.