House Cybersecurity Bill Makes a Comeback, Despite Obama Veto Threat
February 8, 2013 2:55 PM
House Democrats say talks with White House are going "pretty well"
Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers
(R-Mich.) and the ranking member of the committee,
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger
to lead a bipartisan push to reintroduce and push through Congress a slightly amended version of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) (
). The bill is one of two cybersecurity measures being debated in Congress, with a separate bill being crafted in the Senate.
Last year the House passed CISPA, a measure which would make it easier for businesses to share information with
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS). The bill, which has a number of other cybersecurity implications, was supported by a number of large internet companies such as AT&T, Inc. (
) and Facebook, Inc. (
But privacy advocates were outraged at the measure, fearful it would result in customer data being passed to the DHS or
U.S. National Security Agency
(NSA). The Obama administration
eventually sided with the privacy advocates
, threatening to veto the bill if it passed through.
Last year President Obama threatened to veto CISPA. [Image Source: Reuters]
Under the looming veto threat, the Senate refused to put the bill to a vote last year. But the Senate version of the bill (
which President Obama prefered
, also failed to pass. In the aftermath President Obama announced his attention to
push some of its provisions with executive orders
, a controversial tactic.
But there may be fresh hope for Congress and the White House to reach a compromise and pass cybersecurity provisions into law. A
of hacking attacks
has created momentum for a new effort by the feds. Rep. Ruppersberger reports that discussions with the White House have been going "pretty well". He adds, "We're working on some things…working with the White House to make sure that hopefully they can be more supportive of our bill than they were the last time."
The bill may get a boost from new
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) director John Brennan, a former White House cybersecurity advisor who was involved "to an extent" with crafting the policies in the bill.
The U.S. federal government faces a diverse array of cybersecurity threats.
[Image Source: ThinkProgress]
The U.S. federal government has struggled in recent years with
foreign cybersecurity threats
. Today it's trying to figure out how to cut through bureaucrat red tape to defend itself more effectively without crushing citizen privacy rights.
It's also in the middle of an effort to bolster its cyberwarfare ranks, which c
urrently consist of a skeleton crew
working at the
U.S. Cyber Command
and units within the NSA and other agencies tasked with certain responsibilities. The current plan is to expand the Cyber Command and unify cyberwarfare activities under its banner, but the precise policy details are still being juggled about.
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