Obama expected to unveil cybersecurity proposals today

President also likely to announce creation of White House cybersecurity adviser post

President Obama today is expected to unveil his administration's proposals for protecting the nation's interests in cyberspace against international and domestic threats. He is also expected to announce the creation of a senior White House cybersecurity adviser role though it's unclear if he will name anyone to the job.

In a sign of the importance the administration is attaching to cybersecurity, Obama will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. ET to make the announcements. His proposals are expected to be based on a review of governmentwide cybersecurity that had been undertaken earlier this year at his behest by Melissa Hathaway, a former Bush administration aide who he appointed as acting senior director for cyberspace.

Though the results of the review have not been released, it is expected to recommend the creation of a cybersecurity adviser's role within the executive office of the president. The adviser is expected to be a member of the National Security Council and would report both to the national security adviser and the senior White House economic adviser. It's unclear what rank and title the new official will hold, but the goal is to have someone who will have direct access to the president on cybersecurity matters and will have the clout to force change across agencies if needed.

The report is also expected to call for greater public and private sector cooperation on cybersecurity matters and assurance that privacy rights are not compromised for security reasons.

News of the planned announcement is being greeted with a mixture of excitement and trepidation within the security industry. While the high-level attention given to cybersecurity by the president is generally seen as positive, there is also concern that it could result in regulations and a meddlesome government presence in cybersecurity matters on the private sector side.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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