Senate Bill Boosting Cybersecurity for Infrastructure Providers Expected Soon

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 9, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

A Sen­ate pan­el is “very close” to un­veil­ing cy­ber­se­cur­ity le­gis­la­tion aimed at help­ing and en­cour­aging crit­ic­al-in­fra­struc­ture pro­viders — in­clud­ing nuc­le­ar-power plants — to share more cy­ber-threat data with each oth­er and the gov­ern­ment, a top Re­pub­lic­an said Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to The Hill news­pa­per.

Sen­at­or Saxby Cham­b­liss (R-Ga.), the rank­ing mem­ber on the Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, said at a cy­ber­se­cur­ity con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton that his pan­el is fi­nal­iz­ing a bill akin to the Cy­ber In­tel­li­gence Shar­ing and Pro­tec­tion Act, which the Re­pub­lic­an-led House passed in April. Sen­ate Demo­crats largely balked at that House le­gis­la­tion and the White House threatened to veto it, char­ging it would not sig­ni­fic­antly pro­tect cit­izens’ data pri­vacy.

Cham­b­liss non­ethe­less said he and In­tel­li­gence pan­el Chair­wo­man Di­anne Fein­stein (D-Cal­if.) are pro­ceed­ing with their sim­il­ar le­gis­la­tion, and cur­rently are hash­ing out the fi­nal de­tails, ac­cord­ing to The Hill. The GOP sen­at­or said he and Fein­stein have worked with Rep­res­ent­at­ives Mike Ro­gers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Rup­pers­ber­ger (D-Md.), who craf­ted the CISPA, in hopes of en­sur­ing if the Sen­ate bill passes the full cham­ber that it can be re­con­ciled with the House plan.

At the cy­ber con­fer­ence, sponsored by Politico, Cham­b­liss in­dic­ated a stick­ing point mem­bers of the Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee are still de­bat­ing: if and how their bill will grant im­munity pro­tec­tion to com­pan­ies that share cy­ber-threat data with the gov­ern­ment, ac­cord­ing to Politico. Cham­b­liss fur­ther said the Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee’s bill will call for es­tab­lish­ing a gov­ern­ment portal for the cy­ber-threat data com­ing from the private sec­tor, which likely would be part of the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment. However, he said he wants the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency to have ac­cess to the private-sec­tor in­form­a­tion  — something that could alarm pri­vacy ad­voc­ates.

“You can’t have pro­tec­tion from a cy­ber­se­cur­ity stand­point without the NSA be­ing in­teg­rally in­volved,” Cham­b­liss re­portedly said. “I mean, they’re the ex­perts.”

Cham­b­liss and oth­er law­makers said at the Tues­day New­seum event lamen­ted that the pace of cy­ber­se­cur­ity le­gis­la­tion has slowed on Cap­it­ol Hill since former NSA con­tract­or Ed­ward Snowden leaked in­tel­li­gence doc­u­ments re­gard­ing the agency’s wide­spread sur­veil­lance activ­it­ies.

Rep­res­ent­at­ive Jim Langev­in (D-R.I.) said he sus­pec­ted law­makers would not ad­dress sig­ni­fic­ant cy­ber­se­cur­ity le­gis­la­tion this year. “It’s very dif­fi­cult at this point,” he told Politico, “giv­en the gov­ern­ment shut­down and what happened as a res­ult” of Snowden.

Pres­id­ent Obama in Feb­ru­ary signed an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der in­ten­ded to im­ple­ment some as­pects of a cy­ber­se­cur­ity bill that died in the Sen­ate last year, which the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce ar­gued would have led to ex­cess­ive reg­u­la­tions on com­pan­ies. Obama’s ex­ec­ut­ive or­der calls for gov­ern­ment and in­dustry of­fi­cials to craft vol­un­tary cy­ber-threat stand­ards, and an early draft of them is due Oct. 12, ac­cord­ing to Politico.

What We're Following See More »
Libertarians Getting a Second Look?
5 hours ago
Trump Floats Gingrich, Kasich as Running Mates
5 hours ago

Newt Gringrich is actively positioning himself as a possible VP nominee for Donald Trump, according to National Review. After a New York Times piece mentioned him as a possible running mate, he said, "It is an honor to be mentioned. We need a new Contract with America to outline a 100-day plan to take back Washington from the lobbyists, bureaucrats, unions, and leftists. After helping in 1980 with Reagan and 1995 as speaker I know we have to move boldly and decisively before the election results wear off and the establishment starts fighting us. That is my focus." Meanwhile, Trump told CNN he'd be "interested in vetting" John Kasich as well.

House Dems Push on Puerto Rico, Citing Zika
7 hours ago

"House Democrats are stepping up pressure on Republicans to advance legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s worsening debt crisis by issuing a report arguing that austerity cuts can’t be sustained and have made the island more vulnerable to the mosquito-borne Zika virus." Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee released a report yesterday that argued "further sharp reductions in government spending can’t be a part of a legislative solution"—especially with a rainy season boosting the mosquito population and stressing an island health system already struggling to deal with the Zika virus.

Clapper: ISIS Can Stage Attacks in U.S.
7 hours ago

"ISIS has the capability to stage a Paris-style attack in the U.S. using local cells to strike in multiple locations and inflict dozens of casualties, according to the Obama administration's top U.S. intelligence official." Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's Peter Bergen that such a scenario is "something we worry about a lot in the United States, that they could conjure up a raid like they did in Paris or Brussels."

Trump to Name VP Search Committee
8 hours ago

"Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to reveal his vice presidential pick sometime in July—before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—but added that he would soon announce a committee to handle the selection process, which would include Dr. Ben Carson." He said he's inclined to name a traditional political figure, unlike himself.