Public firms may be forced to disclose computer security steps

Friday, 10 October 2003, 9:41 AM EST

Companies that sell stock to the public may be required to disclose what they are doing to protect their computer systems, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Thursday.

Ridge said he already has met with William Donaldson, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to consider whether such disclosures should be included in financial filings.

"I think we need to talk about some kind of public disclosure: What are you doing about your security, physical and cybersecurity?" Ridge said in a speech to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a software-industry trade group. "Tell your shareholders, tell your employees, tell your communities within which you operate."

SEC spokesman John Nester confirmed that the idea of requiring disclosure about cybersecurity "is being looked at at the staff level."

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