Cybersecurity Bill Backers Say it Could Help Prevent Cyber 9/11
Argue for proceeding to a vote on bill before Congress exits for August recess
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/25/2012 6:34:28 PM
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Wednesday invoked cloture on debate, with a vote not coming until Friday on that motion per Senate rules.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and other bill co-sponsors said that the bill had been modified, including in meetings Wednesday morning, to make it less regulatory and more voluntary. He said some had argued that approach--taken to try and win over primarily Republican opponents to the bill-- was worse than no bill. He said he disagreed, and that incentivized sufficiently, and audited, such a voluntary approach was better than closing off the path to a bill.
The bill's mandatory cybersecurity standards have been changed to voluntary ones, though with government input and sign-off.
"We can't afford to wait for a cyber 9/11 before we act on this legislation," said bill co-sponsor Susan Collins (R-Maine). "We are being attacked and robbed every day and are not adequately defended," said co-sponsor Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). He said he was hopeful about the Friday vote on proceeding to a vote, and said that he was hopeful the Senate would be able to pass the bill as well.
Citing the pre-9/11 dots that were not connected, Rockefeller said: "Today, with a new set of warnings flashing before us, and a wide range of new challenges to our security and safety, we again face a choice. Act now, and put in place safeguards to protect this country and our people. Or act later, when it is too late. We must act now."
At press time, Rockefeller described the following as key provisions of the bill:
- Allow the government and the private sector to share threat and vulnerability information, while protecting privacy and civil liberties.
- Improve the security of the Federal government's networks by taking away a "checklist" based approach that does not make the systems more secure.
- Clarify the roles and responsibilities of Federal agencies when it comes to cybersecurity.
- Coordinate cybersecurity research and development so that the federal government has a plan that is kept up to date.
- Promote public awareness of cyber vulnerabilities to ensure a better informed and more alert citizenry.
Many cyber attacks have been successful because the people using the systems do not understand the consequences of their actions, whether it is clicking on a link to an untrustworthy website or using a USB drive that is unsecure.
More meetings on the bill were planned for Thursday morning on the bill, said Lieberman and Rockefeller.
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