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American companies ask White House for 'light touch' in cybersecurity rulemaking

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Yesterday, President Barack Obama met with a number of executives from American companies to discuss cybersecurity and take input on potential government action like Obama's recent executive order. According to Reuters, though, companies are asking for limited intervention in managing threats. "I think we all agreed — and that included the administration and the president — that we want as light a government touch on this as possible," said Honeywell CEO David Cote after the meeting. "Flexibility is important, because this is the kind of threat that changes very quickly."

Besides Cote, the meeting included executives from AT&T, Northrop Grumman, Exxon Mobil, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and American Electric Power — a mix of defense contractors and providers of critical domestic infrastructure systems that officials worry might be prime targets for cyberattacks. Obama's executive order includes information sharing provisions and guidelines for industry practice, and the recently reintroduced CISPA bill could have stronger teeth, but the White House's position on it is still unclear: it's been asked to clarify whether opposition to a previous version means the new CISPA would be rejected as well.