Obama to push cybersecurity, identity theft and online access plans

President Obama boards Air Force One after a visit to Alcoa, Tenn., on Friday.
President Obama boards Air Force One after a visit to Alcoa, Tenn., on Friday.
(Mark Zaleski / Associated Press)

President Obama will focus on high technology next week, announcing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity, prevent identity theft and increase Internet access, the White House said Saturday.

The initiatives will be included in his State of the Union address, which Obama is previewing before the Jan. 20 speech, rather than saving all his major policy announcements for the speech itself.

The risks of cyberattacks have been highlighted in recent weeks by the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment computers. The FBI said North Korea was behind the attack and the U.S. ratcheted up sanctions against the isolated nation in response.


During an event Monday at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, Obama will talk about plans to address identity theft and improve privacy for consumers, particularly students, the White House said.

He also will discuss the next steps in his BuySecure initiative. The program, created in October by executive order, secures payments to and from the federal government through new credit card technology.

Some large companies, including Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp., which have had major data breaches, committed to roll out more secure credit card terminals in their stores as part of the initiative.

On Tuesday, Obama will visit the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., to discuss cybersecurity. He will talk about efforts to increase information-sharing between companies and the government and to improve collaboration against threats.

Legislation that would provide liability protection for firms that share information about online security threats has been stalled in Congress. White House aides have pointed to cybersecurity as an area in which Obama might be able to work with the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

On Wednesday, Obama will go to Iowa and “lay out new steps to increase access to affordable, high-speed broadband across the country,” the White House said.

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