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CyberSecurity Bill - Professional Certifications appear to be off the table
by Decius at 8:15 am EST, Feb 17, 2012

The draft of the Cybersecurity legislation circulated last year included a number of troubling provisions, such as the requirement that any computer security professional working on "critical infrastructure" obtain a government approved professional certification, and a bizarre provision providing that the President could disconnect privately owned "critical infrastructure" from the Internet.

The new draft of the bill does not seem to include either of these provisions. Its a long bill and I have not read it carefully. Its possible that the certification provision is in there somewhere and I missed it, but in looking over the text, I don't see it there. You can click through the link at the bottom of this article and check for yourself.

The professional certification requirement is problematic because it would turn the practice of computer security into a very heavily regulated profession. The certification requirement would provide a back door mechanism through which certain classes of people, such as those who don't have a relevant college degree or those who have been convicted of a crime, could be legally excluded from practicing the profession (regardless of individual circumstances). Frankly, you are not going to get the best and brightest cybersecurity minds to sit through certification retraining three times a year, and so this would lead to brain drain away from critical infrastructure protection and into other roles that are not as heavily regulated.

Supporters of this requirement like to raise the fact that DOD requires certifications. There is a substantial difference between any employer (albeit large) requiring certifications, and the government requiring employers to require certifications through a federal law.

I am glad this provision is gone. What remains does not appear to be too much of a pill to swallow.

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