The Computer Security Act of 1987 – In Layman’s Terms

May 5, 2020 By iwano@_84 Off

Are you concerned about computer security? Do you worry that personal and sensitive information could be leaked to someone with the intent to use that information in a negative manner?

What Is It? The Computer Security Act of 1987 was the first true attempt by the government of the United States to legislate information in the federal government’s computer systems. The overall goal was to protect and defend any of the sensitive information in the systems and provide security for that information.

Basically, what’s private should remain private. The Computer Security Act of 1987 puts a check into place on federal computer systems. And, it’s paved the way for the future of the public’s limited access to government information.

The National Bureau of Standards, which is now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was put in control of creating a strategy to develop certain standards for protecting any information. The Computer Security Act of 1987 required the National Bureau of Standards to create an absolute minimum of acceptable security practices.

Under the Computer Security Act of 1987, security plans dealing with computers needed to be created, and people who used those systems needed to be given the correct training.

Why Did the Computer Security Act of 1987 Originate? At one point in time, the United States Congress had concerns about how vulnerable computer databases could be. Could information be leaked? How possible were breaches in security? Could there be a national security threat if any information leaked and fell into the wrong hands?

It was at this time that Congress decided to check into matters and see how vulnerable the government computers really were.

What Does the Computer Security Act of 1987 Do? The Computer Security Act of 1987 created an advisory board, consisting of twelve members, who met a minimum of three times during the year. The board would give their report to Congress, the National Security Council and others.

The government act does prevent sensitive information from being released, but it also forbids the withholding of any information that’s requested because of the Freedom of Information Act. And, the Computer Security Act of 1987 does not allow any restrictions, limitations or regulations on the disclosure, collection, sale or use of public domain or privately-owned information.

Outcomes from the Computer Security Act of 1987 As of yet, there haven’t been any reports of major information leaks or threats to national security. But, libraries have reported that several government agencies, like NASA, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense, have not released as many documents to the public as they did before the Computer Security Act of 1987.

Since the Computer Security Act of 1987 was passed, it has now been superseded by the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002, which expands on the realm of computer and network security.