GOP High-Tech Task Force lists security, information sharing among top priorities

GOP High-Tech Task Force lists security, information sharing among top priorities

Internet security and combating terrorism through information sharing among companies and agencies are among the top priorities for the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force. The group, made up of 10 senators and chaired by Virginia's George Allen, last week released its 2002 policy agenda and outlined the issues it will focus on during the second session of the 107th Congress.

The task force supports passage of the Critical Infrastructure Information Security Act of 2001 (S 1456), sponsored by Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). The bill would prohibit anyone from using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain critical infrastructure information voluntarily submitted to agencies by the private sector for analysis, warning, interdependency studies and similar uses. It would also prohibit its use by any government agency or third party in a civil lawsuit. The bill would also require the executive branch to establish uniform procedures for handling of such information by federal agencies.

The GOP task force will support funding for cybersecurity issues and promote technology to improve the government's counter-terrorism efforts at airports, border crossings, ports and other potential targets.

Also on the task force's agenda is funding for the Patent and Trademark Office to deal electronically with the 'explosion of technology patents,' the task force said. One way would be through PTO's user fees.

Other agenda items included wireless spectrum issues, deploying broadband technologies and safeguarding copyrights.

'We must recognize that in the cyber age, the old attitudes about warfare and vulnerability and opportunity no longer apply,' Bennett said. 'If we can understand that, and put aside some of our old prejudices and old ideas about technology and regulation, we will be on the road to prosperity and security we need.'

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