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Critical Information Infrastructure Protection and the Law: An Overview of Key Issues
Finally, in the aftermath of September 11, the government took actions that produce a perception (right or wrong) that it may unilaterally suspend prior agreements with respect to the nondisclosure of information if it deems that circumstances warrant. The government should clearly and consistently explain to the private sector what its objectives are for CIIP, how it has organized itself to accomplish those objectives, what the information flows are, what kind of information should be shared and in what form, what the government is willing to share with the private sector, and why all of this is important (i.e., what the threat is, and how the proposed actions will address that threat). This message should clearly and consistently articulate what protections already exist for information sharing and what safe harbors exist (or will be established) to encourage information sharing in light of FOIA and antitrust concerns in the private sector. Consolidation of critical infrastructure protection functions in the new Department of Homeland Security will create a focal point; the tasks of clarifying the policies and communicating with the public remain. A clear and consistent message from the government to the private sector will go a long way toward building the trust that is necessary to protect the nation’s critical information infrastructures.