Security roundup: Apple’s ‘tactical’ data center, cybersecurity bill, privacy law enforcement

Security: We all want it. But getting it is never easy:

Apple is planning to build a high-security data center in North Carolina. The 21,000-square-foot facility will be adjacent to two 500,000-square-foot data centers in Maiden, N.C., one of which has already been built, the Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record reports. That’s also the site where Apple is building a massive solar farm and hydrogen fuel-cell facility. According to newly filed design plans, Apple’s “tactical” data center will include “man traps,” so people entering the building must pass through security measures at the first entrance before a second will open, and the facility will surrounded by an 8-foot-high security fence — and this for a building already within a highly secure site. The larger data center is believed to contain servers used to power Apple’s iCloud. There’s no word on what the tactical facility will house, but there is speculation that it will be used to quickly expand the server facility if needed. 9to5Mac notes that Apple is also constructing massive server centers in Reno, Nev., and Prineville, Ore., to bolster its cloud capabilities.

• With time running out before the Senate’s summer recess, President Barack Obama has written an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal urging lawmakers to quickly pass cybersecurity legislation. Obama wrote that the U.S. faces a sobering threat from hackers intent on damaging America’s vulnerable infrastructure. “Foreign governments, criminal syndicates and lone individuals are probing our financial, energy and public safety systems every day,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to imagine the consequences of a successful cyber attack.” In an effort to win Republican support, CNet reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman and four other Democrats on Thursday introduced changes to the bill that would boost consumer privacy protections and remove mandatory security standards for companies. The Democrat-sponsored Cybersecurity Act — which is different than CISPA, the Republican-sponsored Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act that has been the target of much controversy — would encourage cybersecurity standards and make it easier for the government and companies to share data about threats. The cyber threat is not an idle one; the U.S. has already launched malware attacks against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, and experts worry such viruses could be redesigned to attack its makers.

• Meanwhile, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced Thursday night the formation of a special unit to enforce online privacy laws. The new Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit will enforce “laws relating to cyber privacy, health privacy, financial privacy, identity theft, government records and data breaches,” according to a statement from the state Justice Department. “The Privacy Unit will police the privacy practices of individuals and organizations to hold accountable those who misuse technology to invade the privacy of others,” Harris said. The long arm of the law will be extensive — the unit will apply the law to anyone doing business in California, so virtually every major company, according to PC World. California already has some of the strictest privacy laws in the country. Last month, Harris won the cooperation of Facebook and six other tech companies, including Apple, Google and Hewlett-Packard, to ensure they provide consumers clear privacy policies.



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