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Obama Lays Out Next Steps in Cybersecurity Push

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama will outline several steps intended to safeguard companies, consumers and the U.S. infrastructure during his Jan. 20 State of the Union Address.

The recent hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., which for a brief time prevented the release of the movie "The Interview," was likely the event that put the president over the top. However, retail breaches were also main components to the need for new cybersecurity standards, most notably affecting Target Corp. and Home Depot Inc.

In the convenience store industry, MAPCO Express Inc. was the subject of a breach a couple of years ago.

Perhaps the most broad-based initiative for all Americans is a presidential proposal called The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act. Once implemented, this proposal clarifies and strengthens the obligations companies have to notify customers when their personal information has been exposed, including establishing a 30-day notification requirement from the discovery of a breach, while providing companies with the certainty of a single, national standard. The proposal also criminalizes illicit overseas trade in identities.

Also sure to affect most Americans is an Obama Administration goal to identify and prevent identity theft. The goal of this legislation is to give consumers access to one of the best early indicators of identity theft, as well as an opportunity to improve their credit health. Through this effort, more than half of all adult Americans with credit scores will now have access to this tool to help spot identity theft through their banks, card issuers or lenders.

The president also will issue an executive order that all payments to and from the federal government must use chip-and-PIN technology.

Talking points for the State of the Union address are rarely presented to the general public before the nationally televised speech is aired. However, Obama wants to generate excitement in advance of the speech as he begins the next-to-last year of his presidency, reported The Associated Press.

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