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Obama may act to tighten Internet security

Aug. 9, 2012 at 10:14 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama may use his executive authority to force cybersecurity measures on the Internet, the president's cybersecurity chief says.

White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan said many of the measures would be in line with legislation rejected in the U.S. Senate last year, The Hill reported.

The president may act because "the critical infrastructure of this country is under threat," Brennan said during a speech Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

The U.S. government and commercial networks are always under attack, Brennan said.

"We have to improve our [cyber] defenses in this country," Brennan said. "We cannot wait."

The cybersecurity bill, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Joe Lieberman, Ind-Conn. and Susan Collins, R-Maine, would have protected the nation's electrical grid, financial networks, transportation system and other vital infrastructure.

The legislation fell eight votes short of support after it drew opposition from both sides of the political fence. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claimed it would unfairly restrict private companies while civil liberties and open government groups said the proposal gave too much power over commercial cyber networks to the government.

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