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Tech Industry Works To Stem New Security Rules

WASHINGTON (AP) -- America's largest technology companies are working to persuade the Department of Homeland Security against consideration of costly new computer-security rules, arguing that companies already are taking aggressive steps to defend against hackers.

So far, industry has found a receptive audience. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was expected to solicit suggestions from executives Wednesday during an appearance at an industry conference in Santa Clara, Calif.

The administration already is reconsidering its support for a plan that would require publicly traded companies to describe their hacker defenses to securities regulators.

Ridge told executives last month it was "worthy and timely" to consider requiring companies to disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission how well they're prepared for attacks. However, amid objections by industry groups, the government is reconsidering whether to involve the SEC.

"It is premature at this point to say that public companies need to have a disclosure requirement," said Robert Holleyman, chief executive for the Business Software Alliance, whose members include Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Apple Computer Inc., and Cisco Systems Inc.

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