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Cybersecurity bills advance in House, Senate.

Congress continues to debate cybersecurity legislation, with the House passing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA, H.R. 3523) and members of the Senate pushing for consideration of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 2105).

Sponsored by House Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), CISPA passed the House by a vote of 248 to 168, with 42 Democrats voting for the bill and 28 Republicans voting against it. The legislation would remove legal barriers preventing the government and private companies from sharing information regarding cyberattacks and network security. It would also limit the federal government's jurisdiction in seeking cybersecurity information.

CISPA passed a day after the Office of Management and Budget released a statement saying that President Obama would veto the bill if it reached his desk. The White House expressed concern that the bill does not adequately address individual privacy concerns and national infrastructure vulnerabilities. The bill has been referred to the Select Committee on Intelligence for consideration.

CISPA is similar to a Senate bill, the Strengthening and Enhancing Cyber-security by Using Research, Education, Information, and Technology Act of 2012 (SECURE IT, S. 2151), in its focus on voluntary information sharing. SECURE IT, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and seven other Republicans, also includes clauses meant to strengthen criminal penalties for cybercrimes. The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. A House version of the bill (H.R. 4263), sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), is currently in several committees.

Meanwhile, the bipartisan Cybersecurity Act of 2012, sponsored by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), would empower the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a top-level assessment of cybersecurity risks and develop requirements for securing critical infrastructure. It would also provide more privacy protection than CISPA or SECURE IT.

The White House has endorsed the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, although a coalition of several civil liberties groups has come out against it, saying the bill does not provide adequate privacy protection. The coalition, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology, is concerned that the bill would allow military spy agencies access to personal information and permit the federal government to use that information during unrelated criminal investigations. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has expressed similar concerns about the bill's privacy protections. Although Democratic senators have said they are willing to add in more privacy protection clauses, House Republicans say they will not support any legislation that includes new regulations.

In the meantime, the House has passed several other cybersecurity bills. The Federal Information Security Amendments Act of 2012 (H.R. 4257) would update the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) to increase the responsibility of federal agencies to update information security infrastructure. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2012 (H.R. 2096) directs federal agencies participating in the National High-Performance Computing Program to draft and implement a Congress-approved cybersecurity R&D plan. The bill was introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and passed the House by 396 to 10. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX) sponsored the Advancing America's Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2012 (H.R. 3834), which passed the House by a voice vote. The legislation would update the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991, which established the National High-Performance Computing Program.
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Title Annotation:FROM THE HILL
Publication:Issues in Science and Technology
Date:Jun 22, 2012
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