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Public Statements

Cybersecurity Enhancement Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Madam Chairman, when I first came to Congress in 1993, we had computers but we did not have Internet. In fact, if it wasn't for Al Gore maybe we still wouldn't have it. I don't need to bring that up.

But you know, the reality is most of us, and my friend Mr. Gordon will remember, did not have cell phones. And then I remember there was a discussion that I had with one Member about, ``You know, I don't think it is fair for the taxpayers to pay for your cell phone. I think it is unnecessary.''

And I remember when I got a cell phone I wanted to have a 912 area code, because I didn't want the folks back home to think I went Washington if I had the 202 area code. But now in essence everybody has a mobile phone, as they do Internet. I remember Stacy Hall, our receptionist, who was the IT person since she was the youngest in the office. She was probably 22, a UGA graduate. She got this thing called the Internet, and she started planning her weekends with her friends.

Now, there were about five other Ð21-, 22-year-old kids on the Hill who knew what email was. So they started swapping. And then I remember eventually she told our scheduler about, ``You know, maybe you could use this like to schedule the Congressman.'' What a radical idea. And before you know it, 5 or 6 years down the road, everybody was addicted to it.

And then I remember 9/11, not many of us had a BlackBerry. But BlackBerrys had an ability to get out on the Internet a little bit better than cell phones, so BlackBerrys became an important thing. And I know Mr. Gordon and many of us here have seen all this grow, but now this phenomenal piece of equipment can find maps anywhere in the world. You can talk to somebody on the phone. You can take pictures and instantly send it to somebody. You can download music--although I have no idea how--and Internet people and look up things, Google online and Bing. And can you only imagine what this will be 5 years from now. It is unbelievable.

I entered Michigan State University, and the calculator was a slide rule. We actually voted my freshman year not to allow calculators because the Texas Instruments, I think it was called an SR-10--can I get an amen over there? I know you must have had one. It was $179. We voted in my chemistry class at Michigan State University not to allow calculators because most middle class kids could not afford it. And yet 4 or 5 years later you could get much better calculators that fit in your pocket for $10.

Technology has evolved at such a rapid pace, and yet along with it so have the bad guys. It used to be that maybe some interested math genius with a twisted sense of humor in Indonesia would hack into the Department of Defense computers just to see if he could, not really caring how many F-22s were in production, but just wanted to know. But then eventually the bad guys became more organized, more sophisticated, botnets, computer systems that talked to each other and shared information. A way of hacking into the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Centers for Disease Control, all kinds of government agencies with all kinds of sensitive information. But there is no need to stop there. Wall Street, financial information, other things that you could get out of universities, all of it is vulnerable.

And so this bill today is relevant because it shows that Congress is moving along with the technology to rise to the challenge. We need to have cybersecurity experts. So many of the cybersecurity experts that we have now come up through a law enforcement background and then they learn their computer training.

What this bill does is to reach out to that young 17-, 18-, 19-year-old, and identify them as being interested in this, and merge in all their talents and say come on in the classroom because we need you as a line of defense. Technology against technology has to have that wall in-between them, and that wall is a brilliant, well-trained human being. That is what this bill seeks to do.

In my own district, I have to brag a little bit, that Armstrong Atlantic University has a Cyber Security Research Institute. And it is working to bridge the gap so that the young people can have a viable career in cybersecurity. The program is to produce a more educated cybersecurity investigator with expertise in areas not only in technology but in law enforcement and law itself, and policy itself, and work with cyber forensics in order to produce the kind of professionals that we need to overcome the threat that we face as a Nation. We cannot be passive about this topic. We have to be proactive.

This bill shows one of the great bipartisan efforts of Congress, for us to come together and address something that is truly a national security threat. So I am proud to support it. If you want any more information, you can get it on my BlackBerry. I will be glad to download it for you.


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