Venable partner Jamie Barnett was interviewed in a December 1, 2016, Communications Daily article on a move by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to back off of a proposal setting up a framework for the commission to hold confidential meetings on cybersecurity practices with communications sector executives. The framework was part of a broader proposal adopting the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council’s (CSRIC) 2015 report on recommendations for communications sector cybersecurity risk management.
"I don't think this policy statement will see the light of day," said Barnett, citing the changing presidential administrations. The proposed framework for confidential meetings never had "total confidence or buy-in from either inside or outside the FCC," he added. "The same is true in essence for the proposal that came out" of CSRIC's 2015 recommendations "because the private sector didn’t want the FCC to do something more drastic" on cybersecurity regulation. With the switch to a Republican administration, he said, "it's a new day and everything is up for re-examination.”
Barnett said the FCC's decision to stop pushing for the meetings framework "is in large part a pullback" from Wheeler's proposed "new paradigm" on FCC involvement in cybersecurity risk management. He said there can "be more than one approach" to the FCC’s involvement in cybersecurity, but the fundamental question is “what is the proper role of government” in cyber issues. "It will be interesting to see how that develops as we move forward."