RealTime IT News

Lawmakers Dig In On Cybersecurity Bill

The age-old dilemma of privacy versus security took center stage during a hearing Tuesday in which advocates of a sweeping cybersecurity bill argued that increasing executive authority to prevent catastrophic cyber attacks was a matter of national security. eSecurity Planet details both sides of an issue that has CIOs and lawmakers lined up on both sides of the argument.

WASHINGTON -- The senators backing sweeping and controversial legislation to overhaul U.S. cybersecurity policy pressed their cause Tuesday, signaling in a hearing that they have no intention of backing down from a dramatic expansion of executive authority to respond to an attack on the nation's digital infrastructure.

"This hearing is a next step in examining the important action we should be taking, right now—as a government and as a national economy—to harden our defenses and safeguard critical infrastructure against a major cyber attack," said Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV).

Rockefeller, along with Olympia Snowe (R-ME), jointly introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 last April, legislation that drew immediate protests from groups that warned against provisions in the bill that could supersede privacy laws in the event of a cyber attack and give the president authority to take temporary control over private networks.

But Rockefeller and Snowe Tuesday indicated that they remain committed to the executive authority provisions in the bill, which they hope to push through the senate this year.

"We've got to give the president the right to intervene," Rockefeller said. "That's controversial. That'll always be controversial."

The senators said that they and their staffers had held more than a hundred meetings with members of the private sector and other stakeholders and that the bill has been substantially revised at least four times.

Read the full story at eSecurity Planet:
Sens. Push for Government Cybersecurity Authority