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It's backk!! Controversial proposal regarding public/private sharing via the DHS gets

In recent years the U.S. has struggled under the weight of constant cyberattacks from China.  But in recent months, a new threat has emerged -- Iran -- a nation the U.S. long wrote off a cyber-weakling.

I. Reviving S.3414

In the midst of this two-sided battle, the Obama administration is making a second pitch to members of Congress to revive and pass a slightly modified version of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414).

The administration's argument is basically, "Hey, we'll take out the parts of the cybersecurity bill that you don't necessarily want to be seen supporting, and replace them with executive orders."

Most on both sides of the aisle agree that in the perfect world there would be some sort of exchange of threat information between the government and the private sector; the question is how to do that, without imposing onerous red tape on the private sector.

There is some base controversy about the fact that the administration's plan flows data through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has attacked the bill, which he calls a "big brother writ at large", and also called out the DHS as an "inefficient and redundant entity, commenting, "It’s the inefficiency of the bureaucracy that is the problem. So, increasing this with the Department of Homeland Security and spending more money doesn't absolve us of the problem."

Digital data
Businesses are mistrustful of the government's ability to secure their risk analyses.
[Image Source: Stream 20]

But many Republicans are supportive of having the DHS handle terrorist threats -- including in cyberspace; after all it was a Republican who created the DHS in the post-9/11 aftermath.

The part that bothers the majority of Republicans is opposition from major businesses which fear Sec. 102 "Sector-by-sector cyber risk assessments".  The concern from the private sector lies not so much in the cost -- businesses will generally be forced to perform such risk analyses anyhow.  Rather, there's fear that the government could lose this data as it has lost masses of data in the past (Wikileaks, anyone?) exposing potentially embarrassing and damaging vulnerabilities.

So the Obama administration may snip the Sec. 102 language, while keeping the basic concept of the government sharing information on threats with private sector firms like banks and defense contractors.  Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is reportedly preparing to introduce the slightly revised bill, according to Reuters.

Comments Jeffrey Ratner, senior adviser for cybersecurity on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, on the removal of the Sec. 102 language, "[Bill coauthor Joe Lieberman] wants legislation [on risk analysis], but he's willing to focus on the rest of this bill, because there are important things there that he believes need to be implemented."

II. Watered Down or Bipartisan Compromise?

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-NH) is one of the bill's coauthors, who is working with Sen. Reid, a former party colleague on the draft.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano says the bill will not create new bureaucracy, merely improve and codify efforts that are already underway.  She comments, "We know there are … vulnerabilities. We are working with [private industry] on that."

The revised bill is likely to move closer to a bipartisan bill proposed by House of Representatives by Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and the top Democrat on that panel, Rep. C.A. Ruppersberger (D-MD).  That bill is known as the The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523)

The plan is to pass the pared down bill, which some critics call a "watered down" version of S. 3414.  President Obama will then try to implement some of the removed features via executive orders, placing the blame or credit for them on his own administration, not Congress.
Obama, tired
President Obama's cabinet is looking to implement the missing features of S.3414 with executive orders. [Image Source: Associated Press]

But even if that plan may be palatable to Congress, not everyone thinks it will help safeguard the U.S.  Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, argued to Reuters that the real problem is that U.S. lacks the backbone to initiate digital counterstrikes or offline trade repercussions against those who attack it.

"We're having the wrong debate," he says, "What's the benefit of information-sharing if you're not going to act on the information?"

Source: Reuters

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By Ringold on 11/1/2012 3:28:30 PM , Rating: 5
The administration's argument is basically, "Hey, we'll take out the parts of the cybersecurity bill that you don't necessarily want to be seen supporting, and replace them with executive orders."

Thats a perfect characterization, too, and one of the bigger problems with this president. Boggles the mind that the Democrats, after years of wailing about Bush being an "imperial president" and executive branch over-reach have themselves become one of the worst offenders in US history.

If you strip away names and titles, it could sound just like Russia. Can't get it through Congress/Duma? Executive order. Uncomfortable questions being asked? Invoke executive privilege. Whistle blower causing a problem? Unleash the lawyers. Got something classified that might play well with voters? "Leak" it to the government-friendly press. Friends help you get elected? Toss them some public coin for their (green) company.

Even worse, half the electorate seems like to very much like their crony capitalism wrapped in warm and fuzzy words.

As for the bill, the guy at the end of the article is 100% right. Various people already share information on security, what's needed is recourse.

RE: Democracy
By dgingerich on 11/1/2012 4:20:42 PM , Rating: 3
That's the way the Democrats do everything: increase the bureaucracy and make harder to do anything, but leave out any repercussions for doing anything wrong. They have always lacked the spine to follow through on punishment. If Bernie Madoff had done his thing in Texas, his whole family would be broke to the seventh generation and they'd be hunting down all his offshore accounts.

RE: Democracy
By Noonecares on 11/1/2012 7:40:39 PM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked.. we started a war on terror in the wrong country.... on the basis of wmds..... Dem or Rep... they are the same thing, puppets for corporate usa. One of the best ways to fix it would be to get rid of lifetime politicians. But that's just me. Also, tax the hell out of anything coming into the US so that we have to buy things made in america, not assembled... I mean USA, not central america.. But its just dreams of a internet user.

RE: Democracy
By Woobagong on 11/2/2012 4:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
Also, tax the hell out of anything coming into the US so that we have to buy things made in america

Doing useless things for the sake of just doing something?

RE: Democracy
By Noonecares on 11/2/2012 6:31:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, might as well do something just for the sake of it. I don't like either choice for president anyway. Chances are that this will happen. Romney wins... he figures out how to make more money for himself and his closet friends. I.E. Bush and Cheney's companies. Obama wins... He gets "dazzled"(pimped) by lobbyists into passing pretty much the same bills. We can't compete with China manufacturing because ?... we have labor laws that are enforced and a minimum wage. Why can't we have a flexible non party leader? Someone who will look at an issue, think on it for a bit, then make a decision. We promote free thinking as kids, but curb it as an adult. Rant ended.

RE: Democracy
By Kurz on 11/2/2012 9:18:57 AM , Rating: 2
Tariffs are a horrible Idea... Just make it easier for USA born companies to compete abroad.

RE: Democracy
By RufusM on 11/2/2012 2:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
You bet. Tariffs are nothing but a tax on your own citizens for not being able to compete globally.

The government needs to align laws and taxes to allow better global competition. If other countries have tariffs and there's a gross imbalance, then apply inbound trade sanctions or some other political solution. This also helps our foreign policy create a better balance of trade so it's not so one-sided to start.

RE: Democracy
By Noonecares on 11/2/2012 6:38:26 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that completely. But US taxes and laws are being "ammended" by the same corporations that want more profit. Those being the ones that import the most things cheaply made overseas. The name of the game is money, get as much of it as you possibly can. By any means necessary. Pay for lobbyists. Check. Pay for campaign ads. Check. Ask to get one line added into tax code. Checkmate.

RE: Democracy
By NellyFromMA on 11/2/2012 11:29:04 AM , Rating: 2
Lol! Yeah, Republicans are impeccably trust worthy and by-the-books!!! SOOOOO much better than dems! Haha whatever makes you feel better at night...

RE: Democracy
By Reclaimer77 on 11/2/2012 12:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
Compared to this Administration, Republicans are Shaolin Monks!

Give me a break. You have to be completely blind to what's going on out there (or watching network news) to not realize how corrupt Democrats are when put in power, and how damaging their agenda is for this country.

Obama is so far to the Left and into big government Socialism he makes Romney - who is anything but a Conservative - seem like the next Ronald Reagan.

If Republicans had pulled Fast and Furious and this Benghazi bungling coverup bullcrap you and everyone else would be on their high horse about how terrible they are and how Democrats, by default, would be better leaders.

Yet time and time again, no matter what Obama and the Democrats do, all criticism is met with "shut up, you guys are just as bad".

RE: Democracy
By RufusM on 11/2/2012 2:16:35 PM , Rating: 3
+6!! You sir are talking some good sense.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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