In an effort to get the best and brightest together to combat cyber risks, President Obama issued a Data Sharing Executive Order last month, which seeks a commitment and cooperation from the private sector to share information on cyber threats with one another and with the federal government in order to effectively combat hacking incidents in the future. The President indicated that  increased cyber threats against the government and businesses requires a joint defense by federal and private security experts.

However, there is a real tension between the private sector and the government with information sharing due to the NSA’s surveillance activities and the lack of legislation giving companies liability protection for sharing information with the government. There is an obvious reticence to share information with the government for fear of enforcement and regulatory actions following a data breach.

Although it is logical to gather all relevant information  and expertise together and share it widely to combat cyber threats, until the government can give the private sector assurances that it won’t clobber them after their cooperation of exposing vulnerabilities, businesses will continue to go it alone to develop robust security programs to manage liability risks.

The key to success is to allow all entities to share the most up to date vulnerabilities and the best security measures to combat them so there is a united effort to protect data. The government can implement such a program, but there has to be mutual trust and incentives in place before it will happen.

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Photo of Linn Foster Freedman Linn Foster Freedman

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team, and chair’s the firm’s Data Privacy and Security Team. Linn focuses her practice on…

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team, and chair’s the firm’s Data Privacy and Security Team. Linn focuses her practice on compliance with all state and federal privacy and security laws and regulations. She counsels a range of public and private clients from industries such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine and charitable organizations, on state and federal data privacy and security investigations, as well as emergency data breach response and mitigation. Linn is an Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Cybersecurity at Brown University and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law.  Prior to joining the firm, Linn served as assistant attorney general and deputy chief of the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Rhode Island. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University School of Law and her B.A., with honors, in American Studies from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read her full rc.com bio here.