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A number of major security firms are banding together to form a lobbying organization to develop strategies for dealing with cybersecurity issues in Washington.
"We're exclusively focused on cybersecurity," Paul Kurtz, executive director of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), said Wednesday. Kurtz had previously served as special assistant to President Bush on critical infrastructure protection.
At a news conference launching the organization, Kurtz said the CSIA plans to "establish close relationships" with government agencies that deal with cybersecurity issues. He cited the Department of Homeland Security and Office of Management and Budget as examples, but added that the organization will also concern itself with state government and international organizations.
While the CSIA has a blue-chip roster of companies, one name not on the list is Microsoft. Asked whether the CSIA had approached Microsoft, Kurtz said it had talked with Microsoft but hadn't asked it to join. "Our membership is composed of the cybersecurity industry," said Kurtz, adding that the CSIA will be "platform-neutral."
Alliance members have made it clear that they oppose regulation of security issues by the Bush administration or Congress.
"We as an industry need to figure out how to solve these problems in a proactive way before someone gets fed up and says it's time to legislate," said Sanjay Kumar, CEO at Computer Associates.
In addition to CA, members of the CSIA include Bindview, Check Point Software Technologies, Entrust, Netscreen Technologies, Network Associates, PGP, RSA Security, Secure Computing, and Symantec.
While the alliance will strive to speak with "a common voice," Kurtz said consumer rights and privacy issues should logically flow from the organization. "Security and privacy are two sides of the same coin," he said. "We will have a great deal to do with privacy."
By banding together, Kurtz believes the Alliance will eschew the past practice of cybersecurity firms speaking in many voices and bring a single voice to the forefront of cybersecurity, resulting in a more-focused influence.