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First came the drug czar, the copyright czar and even the car czar. Now comes the cybersecurity czar. The latest czar proposal was included in legislation proposed Wednesday to federalize cybersecurity. Among other things, it would empower the federal government to impose cybersecurity protocols on private industry. The proposed legislation by Sen. Jay Rockefeller IV (D-West Virginia) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) came the same day the much-hyped Conficker Worm was supposed to destroy the world. More important, the announced legislation came on April Fools' Day — but unfortunately, this isn't a hoax. That's because uniform standards could provide a field day for hackers. And consider that government-backed standards in the credit card banking sector have already proved futile, one swindle at a time. What's more, the proposed cyber czar would be vested with the authority to shutter both public and private computer networks during a cyberattack. Snowe said the legislation creating the newest czar — which is a page out of the recent recommendations of the Commission on Cybersecurity, is needed to avoid Armageddon. "If we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber Katrina," she said in a statement. Can a cabinet-level cyber czar win the War on Internet Terror? Under President George W. Bush, Richard Clarke held the noncabinet role of cyber chief and wrote a book about the government's inept approach to tracking terrorists and securing cyberspace. And, consider how successful the drug czar has been on the War on Drugs. All the while, the position of copyright czar, approved by Congress last year, remains unfilled even as the content industry complains it loses billions to online file sharing. The car czar, just appointed Friday, is supposed to save an ailing U.S. auto industry that reported some of the worst sales results on record Wednesday. Still, Rockefeller echoed Snowe. "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs — from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records — the list goes on. It's an understatement to say that cybersecurity is one of the most important issues we face; the increasingly connected nature of our lives only amplifies our vulnerability to cyber attacks and we must act now," Rockefeller said in a statement.
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