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Sen. Angus King, Tom Fanning Call for Government-Industry Collaboration to Protect Critical Infrastructure

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Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and Tom Fanning, CEO of Southern Company, said the federal government and industry must collaborate to safeguard critical infrastructure from ransomware attacks and other cyber threats. 

“The federal government and private sector must arrive at a new ‘social contract’ of shared responsibility to secure our country's cyberspace where both parties have shared, mutual responsibilities,” King and Fanning wrote in an opinion piece published Monday on CNN Business.

They said Congress should advance proposals to address the gap between the government and critical infrastructure providers when it comes to dealing with cyberattacks and one of those measures is the "systemically important critical infrastructure (SICI)” concept.

Under a SICI measure, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would classify an asset as SICI if a possible breach of that infrastructure would pose a threat to national security, public health and economic security.

Fanning and King also discussed the three potential benefits of SICI legislation before and in the event of a breach and one of those is receiving threat intelligence data on foreign actors to prevent cyber incidents.

“SICI legislation would work hand-in-hand with America's critical infrastructure providers to establish mutual accountability and collaboration in a way not previously possible,” they noted.

Fanning is a commissioner and King is co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.