Cosponsors of a Senate cybersecurity bill (S. 3414) say the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce mischaracterized their bill and add they are
"baffled" by the Chamber's opposition to it. The Chamber maintains it
still supports cybersecurity legislation, just not the one those senators have
The Senate is scheduled to vote to start taking up S.3414,
In a letter to the Chamber, Senate Commerce Committee
Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) characterized their bill as voluntary and
incentive-based, as the Chamber itself championed. "We have moved to a
voluntary approach after extensive discussion with your organization, other
private companies, and other members of the Senate."
Chamber sent a letter last week to key members of the Senate expressing
their concerns with the bill and their support for a Republican alternative,
the SECURE IT Act.
While the bill may not make cybersecurity standards
mandatory, it does give federal agencies like the FCC the authority to mandate
the standards, and requires agencies that have not done so within a year to
explain why. That language has led to the suggestion by bill opponents that the
standards are voluntary in name only.
Rockefeller and company say they met with Chamber
representatives Friday -- the date on the Senators' letter -- and have
solicited input on specific legislative text.
The bill's sponsors say they have already weakened the bill
to try and get support from its critics, primarily Republicans who want the
bill to be mostly about information sharing and industry protections from
liability for that sharing.
The Chamber argues that the bill was rushed to the floor
without a markup or hearing -- a criticism Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) made
last week in pushing his bill, the SECURE IT Act, which focuses on information
sharing and is similar to a bill already passed in the House.
"[T]he Chamber continues to support consensus-oriented
cybersecurity legislation, including H.R. 3523, the â€˜Cyber Intelligence Sharing
and Protection Act' (CISPA), which passed the House in April, and S. 3342, â€˜SECURE
IT,' which tracks closely with the objectives and intent of the House
legislation," Chamber spokesman Bobby Maldonado told B&C/Multichannel News.
"Some of the Chamber's top-line concerns with S. 3414 include the
mandatory nature of the program, provisions concerning third-party auditors,
the â€˜Marketplace Information' provision, and the extent to which control of
information-sharing processes lie in the hands of DHS," said Maldonado.