Cybersecurity Bill Could Make Headway in Congress

Though the Senate isn't likely to vote on the cybersecurity legislation the House passed last month, members of the two chambers are talking, and Congress could have a bill on President Obama's desk by the fall.

It may not be called “CISPA” when all is said and done, but Congress is still working heavily on a bill dealing with cybersecurity.

And unlike when the issue came up last year, legislators may be making some headway in both chambers. More details:

I actually think that the outlook is significantly better than it was last year.

Previously … Last year, the House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). But the bill failed to make inroads in the Senate in the wake of an online outcry against it, which partly led to the launch of the Internet Association. Since then, a number of incidents that drew attention to online security have kept cybersecurity on the legislative front burner. The House passed the bill once again last month, despite the threat of a presidential veto. President Barack Obama said the bill lacked sufficient protections for civil liberties.

Current events: While CISPA has cleared the House, the comprehensive bill is stalled in the Senate. Meanwhile, Reuters reported,  Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said  her panel is working a cyber information-sharing bill, one of the key components of  CISPA. According to the report, CISPA coauthor Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) says that key senators, including Feinstein, are “completely all in” on the need to pass a comprehensive cybersecurity bill, and members of both the House and Senate are reportedly talking in efforts to figure out a solution that works for both sides.

Could it happen this time? Despite the veto threat last time around, the official in charge of the White House’s cybersecurity policy suggests that the players seem more willing to work toward a better solution this time around. “I actually think that the outlook is significantly better than it was last year,” Michael Daniel said at the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington earlier this week. “What has impressed me has been the willingness of everybody involved to actually continue having those discussions and to continue that extensive level of dialogue trying to find some solutions.” Rogers predicts that Obama would sign a new version of the bill.

Skeptics include Information Systems Security Association President Ira Winkler, who told Reuters he doubted such a bill would pass this year.

“We hear about wake-up calls, but people keep hitting the snooze button,” he said.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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