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FCW : August 15, 2015
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) is a rara avis on Capitol Hill — a member of Congress who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to technology. Lieu has a degree in computer science from Stanford University. He’s also a lawyer, an Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Reserve, and a firebrand when it comes to privacy rights. He’s making a mark as president of the 2014 class of House Democrats and as a vocal member of the Oversight and Govern- ment Reform Commit- tee’s IT Subcommittee. This is an excerpt of Lieu’s recent interview with FCW’s Adam Mazmanian; for the full Q&A, go to FCW.com. You’ve been outspoken in your opposition to efforts by law enforcement to obtain access to encrypted communications. Do you think the people advocating for more law enforcement access understand those objections? Rep. Ted Lieu talks cybersecurity seats are included in the Air Force/ Defense Logistics Agency’s contract for Microsoft Office 365 cloud services 100k Trending I respect law enforcement, but their mission is to catch bad guys and prevent bad things from happen- ing. Their mission is not to really think about privacy or think about what could happen if you put in an encryption key. It is clear it will help them catch bad guys. But there’s a whole series of other consequences, such as you’re weakening encryp- tion systems. And this key is really neutral — it’s just a series of ones and zeros. The com- puter can’t tell if it’s the FBI director entering this key or the leader of Hamas or a criminal. What are your impres- sions of the govern- ment’s cybersecurity posture and overall approach to IT, especially in light of the breaches at the Office of Personnel Management? Both the private sector and the pub- lic sector have problems with cyber- security. You’ve seen it at OPM, but you’ve seen it at Anthem, Target, Home Depot, and on and on. Within government, I think it does vary by agency and depart- ment. The Department of Defense figured out very quickly that we are in a cyber war, and every day hack- ers are trying to get our sensitive data. That’s why they stood up U.S. Cyber Command. That’s why they put in two-factor authentication. Many of the civilian agencies, if you read the [inspector general] reports, just don’t have that. In the case of OPM, for years they ignored IG report after IG report that said you need to do two-factor authen- tication. The last IG report, in 2014, said that OPM was in violation of the administration’s own guidance. To me, there is no reason why OPM should be protecting the database of security clearance data. Security clearances are a national security function. It is not a person- nel function primarily. That’s why [Oklahoma Republi- can Rep.] Steve Russell and I are working on legislation to move that responsibility out of OPM and into a department that has as its mis- sion fundamentally either national security or intelligence or homeland security. n August 15, 2015 FCW.COM 3 FCW CALENDAR Acquisition Washington Technology’s Department of Health and Human Services IT Day will dig into specific fiscal 2016 acquisitions at the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other HHS components. Falls Church, Va. is.gd/WT_HHS_IT CDM The Department of Homeland Security’s Jim Quinn and the General Services Administration’s Chris Hamm are among the speakers at this FCW event on the next steps toward improving agencies’ security posture. Washington, D.C . fcw.com/cdm 9/2 8/19 Defense Brig. Gen. Mark Weatherington, the Joint Staff’s deputy director for C4/cyber, and Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey are among the speakers at AFCEA NOVA’s Joint Warfighter IT Day. Vienna, Va. is.gd/AFCEA_defense 9/2 0815fcw_003-008.indd 3 7/28/15 4:02 PM
July 30, 2015
August 30, 2015