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House Democrats say talks with White House are going "pretty well"

House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and the ranking member of the committee, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Mary.) plan to lead a bipartisan push to reintroduce and push through Congress a slightly amended version of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) (H.R. 3523).  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. (T) and Facebook, Inc. (FB).

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.

Obama on computer
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 (S.2105 [PDF]), 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 fresh round 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.

cybersecurity
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 both domestic and 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 currently 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.

Source: The Hill



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By JPForums on 2/11/2013 11:16:05 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is the bills are focused on the wrong targets. The U.S. government and media are constantly drawing attention to hacks from China, Russian botnets, and any number of other ambiguous(anonymous) foreign threats. Then they propose to solve the problem by funneling national email, texting, internet access, etc. through government servers. Doesn't quite seem like the place to focus on to fix the problem they've laid out. Though, it does look eerily similar to the solution for Big Media's antipiracy push. Seems like Jeff has it figured out. Ironically, even if you stop all piracy in America, you miss far and away the largest offenders.

I was initially surprised by Obama's willingness to shutdown such an ill conceived bill, until I learned that he shut it down because it didn't go far enough for him.

Cyber warfare is a very real threat that the U.S. is ill-equipped to handle. Unfortunately, contrary to the beliefs of some of the more conservative in the U.S., it will probably require government intervention to handle effectively (just like any other such threat to the nation from a foreign entity). However, passing a bill that hinders the American populace and does little to actually protect from outside threats is more damaging than doing nothing. Better to leave cyber security in the hands of individuals than to leave the country with a false sense of security.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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