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Presidential election makes cyber security legislation unlikely


DALLAS — The 2016 presidential election makes it unlikely major cyber legislation will be approved by Congress in the next year, an attorney says.

“I'll be cynical,” Charles J. Clark, a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel L.L.P. in Washington, said Friday. “I don't think anything is going to happen in Washington in the next 12 months.”

He said he doubts anything will happen “because of the political battles, because of the presidential election — particularly when you look at the challenges facing” Paul Ryan, the recently elected House speaker. Looking at what regulators are doing is “much more important,” Mr. Clark said.

He was among speakers at a session on the changing regulatory cyber security environment during the Professional Liability Underwriting Society's annual conference in Dallas.

Meanwhile, there is a “patchwork quilt” of privacy and security regulations across the United States and internationally, said Robert Parisi, New York-based Marsh L.L.C.s national cyber product leader, who moderated the discussion.

Over the past decade and despite catastrophic events, “the landscape has not changed dramatically in what companies are expected to do,” said Craig A. Hoffman, a partner at Baker & Hostetler L.L.P. in Cincinnati. “This is such a quickly evolving environment that the minute legislation or a ruling is promulgated, the bad guys” find a way around it.

Mr. Clark said also he does not anticipate there will be a U.S. cyber breach notification law anytime soon.

“There is simply no way” the states and state attorney generals “are going to give up that level of power, and certainly not in this political environment,” he said. He also said he does not believe Congress can come up with a consensus on an overarching regulatory structure.

Rob Yellen, New York-based executive vice president of FINEX North America, a unit of Willis Group Holdings P.L.C., said privacy and security regulations vary greatly.

“If you're a cross-border business and trying to comply, it's massively difficult,” Mr. Yellen said. “How do you solve for that? I think insurance is one of the solutions.”

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