WASHINGTON, DC, June 27, 2012 -- The National Retail Federation today told senators that cybersecurity legislation intended to protect the nation's infrastructure against terrorist attack is too important to be derailed by other issues, and urged lawmakers to reject attempts to attach controversial privacy or data breach provisions to the bill.
"Commercial privacy provisions are unrelated to the core purposes of cybersecurity," NRF Senior Vice President David French said. "We urge you and your cosponsors to ensure that all provisions of the bill support the purpose of protecting our critical infrastructure and are not expanded to include unrelated or unvetted amendments."
French's comments came in a letter of support to Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., who today introduced a new version of the Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information and Technology Act, or SECURE IT Act, he first introduced in March. The bill is intended to protect facilities ranging from the electrical grid to water supplies -- and some yet-to-be-specified business systems -- against cyber attacks by terrorists and others. The new version mirrors a voluntary information sharing proposal passed by the House that creates the best opportunity to enact critically needed legislation during the limited time remaining in the current session of Congress.
French expressed concern that attaching privacy or data breach measures to the McCain bill would run the risk of either bogging down cybersecurity in a broader debate on those issues or hastily passing provisions that could negatively impact retailers and consumers.
"The goals underlying cybersecurity legislation and provisions in data breach notification legislation are fundamentally contradictory," French said. "Juxtaposing these contrasting proposals would place businesses in a precarious position when their systems are attacked by cyber criminals. Thoughtful examination and comparison of the SECURE IT Act with proposed data breach legislation reveal that they are not properly aligned."
French said privacy legislation "has not been vetted by any committees of jurisdiction in the Senate" and to add it to the cybersecurity bill without a full range of hearings and debate "flies in the face of the deliberative process that this sensitive topic deserves."
About the National Retail Federation (NRF)
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs -- 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation's economy. NRF's Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com