April 30, 2015

Inside Cybersecurity quotes Jamie Barnett on proposed cybersecurity liability shield for contractors

1 min

Venable partner Jamie Barnett was quoted in an April 30, 2015 Inside Cybersecurity article on a proposal to extend liability protections to defense contractors who are required to report cybersecurity breaches. The House Armed Services Committee made the proposal in the latest version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill.

"I would agree that this language sets the bar pretty high and perhaps higher than it needs to be for the purposes of the statute," said Barnett. He added that well designed liability protections could help improve cybersecurity in the industry. "An element that has been missing from the U.S. cyber strategy can only be supplied by Congress, and that element consists of incentives for the private sector to go beyond what the market will bear," he said. "A limitation of liability is an incentive to which the private sector will respond and it will have a positive effect if administered well." However, Barnett cautioned against too large of a liability shield. "There is a possibility of overshooting on incentives such as limitations of liability," he said. "The behaviors that they are designed to evoke must be realized. Otherwise those measures are insulating the status quo or even bad behaviors."