Biden issues executive order following mounting cyberattacks

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to improve the country’s cybersecurity following a series of high-profile cyberattacks in both the public and private sectors. Why it matters: The United States is facing mounting cyberattacks — from the Colonial Pipeline hack to the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange attacks — and the Biden administration is feeling pressured to act quickly to combat vulnerabilities in the country’s infrastructure.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Details: The executive order will remove barriers to increase information sharing between the government and private sector to allow IT service providers to report breaches.“We'll be leading an effort to really solidify those details and define the threshold that needs to be shared for specific incidents, but it needs to be shared within specific timelines on a sliding scale based on the severity of the incident,” a senior administration official explained. The order will also implement stronger cybersecurity standards across the federal government, including moving to secure cloud-based services.A senior administration official noted that outdated models or unencrypted data is one of the causes of compromised data, and the government must act as a leader in the space. The order establishes a Cybersecurity Safety Review Board, modeled on the National Transportation Safety Board, to investigate incidents.The executive order will also create baseline security standards for any software sold to the government, which in part will require developers to allow for greater visibility into their security data and software creation.“Colonial fundamentally was an IT incident, and this executive order will make IT software more secure,” an administration official said, noting that with more rigorous standards put in place, some of these IT incidents can be mitigated.What we're watching: The administration official noted this is just one step in Biden’s push to strengthen America’s cybersecurity apparatus. Several lawmakers have called for the passage of cybersecurity bills in the wake of the latest attacks.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.

Trans women told by doctors they are 'not wearing enough lipstick'

Trans women are being told they are not wearing enough lipstick or “feminine clothing” by doctors, MPs have heard. The Women and Equalities Select Committee heard evidence on Wednesday from a variety of medical professionals and campaigners regarding gender healthcare as part of its inquiry into the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). Dr Harriet Hutchinson, community organiser at Action for Trans Health Durham, described the current processes of “attempting to prove your gender to a clinician” as a “disturbing”, “intrusive and degrading" process. In accordance with current regulations, in many cases trans people are required to live in their ‘preferred’ gender for two years in order to gain ‘real life experience’ of living and working in their preferred gender. Dr Hutchinson told the virtual hearing: “Our services users have been in appointments where they've been criticised for not wearing lipstick or received lectures from cisgender clinicians that the trousers they were wearing weren't 'feminine enough' to be regarded as female presentation." She added: "So the idea of having to prove your gender is very reductive and forces trans people to conform to stereotypes in order to receive a diagnosis and then, of course, receive criticism for perpetuating gender stereotypes." Dr John Chisholm CBE, chair of the Medical Ethics Committee at the British Medical Association (BMA) also told MPs: "It's very onerous and dehumanising to have to be asked all these intrusive questions in order to prove, in essence, that you are who you say you are… "We've come a long way from regarding gender dysphoria as a medical problem, or a psychological problem or a mental health problem, and yet we are forced back into this paradigm by way of how the law operates." As of 2020, more than 13,500 trans and non-binary were on a waiting list for an NHS gender clinic, according to research conducted by the BBC. The NHS constitution mandates that after receiving a GP referral, the waiting time for a first appointment at a gender clinic should be no longer than 18 weeks, but in many parts of the country this wait is now up to five years. Earlier this month, the cost of applying for a GRC was cut from £140 to £5 as part of changes the government claims will make applying for one “simpler and much more affordable”. The move came after ministers decided last September against wider changes to gender recognition rules that would have allowed people to change their gender legally without a medical diagnosis - a decision which prompted LGBTQ+ campaigners and charities, such as Stonewall, to deem it “a shocking failure in leadership”. The Women and Equalities Select Committee hearing continues.