ACP URGES CONSUMERS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AT FTC CONSUMER INFORMATION SECURITY WORKSHOP
Group Says Government Must Proceed Cautiously and Not Mandate Use Of Specific Technology, Products Or Processes
Washington, DC-- Americans for Computer Privacy (ACP) Executive Director Bruce Heiman today urged
consumers to "GAS up in cyber space," to Guard Against Strangers on-line, because cyber
security is a serious problem and cyber crime is real crime. Heiman urged consumers to
protect themselves, saying "the tools exist and are available for individuals – and
companies – to protect themselves if they take the threat seriously."
Heiman offered a "hand"ful of practical tools – 5 specific actions – consumers can
take. "It's not rocket science. It's not even computer science. It's common sense,"
said Heiman, pointing to suggestions by several groups. The five actions are: using
strong passwords and changing them frequently; using antivirus software; installing a
home firewall; updating security features; and encrypting stored data.
Heiman also urged the Government to proceed cautiously. "The Government can do three
helpful things," he said. "The Government should educate the public about the
importance of practicing good security hygiene and that cyber security is an on-going
responsibility with no one-time fixes or silver bullets," Heiman said. "The Government
also should enforce the cyber crime laws and remove barriers to sharing
information," he added.
But Heiman stressed that "the Government must not mandate the use of particular
security technologies, processes or products. The Government should not be in the
business of promulgating technology specific standards. Doing so will only make the
cyber security problem worse by stifling innovation, freezing development and
artificially channeling R&D." He also said that "Government should not weaken
individuals' security such as by limiting the ability of American industry to develop
the best products and services (e.g. requiring backdoors for easy government access) or
requiring industry to store information for the government’s convenience that would
create attractive new targets for cyber criminals."