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Pennsylvania strengthens cybersecurity
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 03:19:09 -0500 (CDT)


By Dibya Sarkar 
Oct. 22, 2001

Pennsylvania officials have launched an initiative to strengthen
security and privacy policies and practices by educating state
employees, hiring an ombudsman to oversee compliance and amending
criminal codes to better address cybercrime.

Gov. Mark Schweiker unveiled the initiative, PA Secure Online, Oct.
18. The governor's deputy press secretary, David La Torre, said it had
been in the works for some time and was not precipitated by the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks.

"Actually, we were working on PA Secure Online well before 9/11, but
9/11 only increased the need for security online," he said. "We
thought it was important at this time that everyone was on the same
page regarding privacy and security policies."

By next spring, the state hopes to have an ombudsman in place, a
position akin to a chief privacy officer, he said. The ombudsman, who
would be under the auspices of the state Department of Information
Technology, would reach out to agencies and coordinate the education
effort as well as ensure compliance of state policies and federal
restrictions on the use, storage and access to data, he said.

The state will also create a "cyber academy" to better educate state
employees on detecting threats to cybersecurity and train
investigators techniques for apprehending hackers. He said the state
would use experts from within state government as well as from across
the country to train employees at workshops and seminars.

La Torre said the proposed ombudsman and cyber academy would not
require new legislation and would have minimal financial impact. But
amending the criminal code would require new laws to better clarify
language in dealing with such computer crimes as cyberstalking and

The state also wants to make sure that the law is clear on who has
jurisdictional authority on a cybercrime, an issue many states are
grappling with, he said.

"We want to make sure everything is clear and concise so [authorities]
have a bead on the person who is committing the cybercrime," La Torre

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