Rockefeller Calls Vote to Tank Cybersecurity Bill Reckless
Plenty react as Senate fails to reach compromise on legislation on info-sharing/standards
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/2/2012 2:09:42 PM
Republicans defeated a cloture vote that would have brought a bill to the floor without amendments.
"Today's political maneuvering by Republican leadership is more than disappointing. It's reckless," said the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. "We worked hard for more than three years and now because a handful of Republican Senators are afraid of crossing the Chamber of Commerce's beltway lobbyists, we may end up with nothing on this urgent issue. The only thing more upsetting than the Chamber sinking this bill is the attempt by some to demand a vote on repealing health care coverage for families across the country and new preventive care offerings as a condition for voting on cyber security. To combine those two issues is a cynical, Republican political ploy."
Technology industry group TechAmerica said it, too, was disappointed a compromise bill could not be hammered out, although it had its own issues with Rockefeller's bill.
"We are encouraged by the efforts of all Senators to work so feverishly to try to find a compromise on cybersecurity legislation but ultimately disappointed in the failure to do so," said TechAmerica president and CEO Shawn Osborne. "Several proposals under consideration by the Senate include elements that would further this nation's cyber defenses and we encourage Senators to work together during August to come to consensus and return in September to pass legislation on this critical issue."
Another group backing an industry-led cybersecurity effort, the Information Technology Industry Council, suggested a compromise was not close at hand.
"The Senate [cloture] vote is a reminder that we have a long way still to go," the group said. "We hope that, despite this setback, Senators will continue to work with stakeholders and reach agreement on a proposal that embraces security innovation as the best way to counter the threats we all know are out there. Any effort must recognize the critical importance of private-sector leadership for information and communications technology innovation, increased information sharing, and a risk-management approach."
The ACLU saw the vote as blocking a bill that had been improved along the way.
"S. 3414, the Cybersecurity Act, was recently significantly improved with several new privacy- oriented changes, including a mandate that information shared with the government under the program go to civilian agencies and not the National Security Agency or other military components," said ACLU. "The bill would have required annual reports from the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense as well as the Intelligence Community Inspectors General, which would have described what information is received, who gets it, and what is done with it. It also would have given Americans the right to sue the government if it intentionally or willfully violates the law."
Those were some of the changes made during negotiations over the past week or so, but the bill remained to regulatory for many industry players.
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