House Republicans issue answer to Senate cybersecurity bills

In legislation that mirrors a cybersecurity bill introduced by Senate Republicans earlier this month, Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on March 27 unveiled a House version with the same name and essentially the same provisions.

Like the Senate Republican’s Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information and Technology (SECURE IT) Act, introduced March 1 by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the House legislation takes a less prescriptive approach than the earlier, bipartisan Cybersecurity Act of 2012, released Feb. 14.


Related story

Republicans offer hands-off approach to cybersecurity


The Senate’s bipartisan bill expands the authorities of the Homeland Security Department, implements new regulations to protect critical infrastructure and creates a new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications – measures the Republicans believe to be a “heavy-handed, gun-to-the-head approach,” according to a joint statement from Bono Mack and Blackburn.

“Under our legislation, our nation’s best and brightest minds will finally be freed to work hand-in-hand to share information, develop safety protocols and put into place critical early-warning systems – much like a Weather Service advisory before a tornado – but shared between companies and federal authorities,” Bono Mack said in a released statement. “And just as importantly, we can accomplish all of this during these difficult economic times without creating a new bureaucracy and spending money that we don’t have, while protecting consumer privacy at the same time.”

The House and Senate SECURE IT Acts look to remove information-sharing barriers between private companies, offering incentives for collaboration such as legal protection. The Republican bills also seek to reform the Federal Information Security Management Act and toughen punishments for those caught committing cyber crimes.

In a released statement, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) criticized the new House bill as “a major step backward in efforts to protect against the serious threat of severe economic and physical damage from a cyber attack.”

According to Langevin, the House SECURE IT Act does not do enough to effectively protect critical U.S. networks and interests.

“The SECURE IT Act would inexplicably have us continue to rely on the voluntary actions of the owners and operators of our key industries, namely the electric grid and water companies. However, that approach has failed us over the last decade,” Langevin said. “We do not accept voluntary safety standards for our airlines or in our food system, and we should not accept them when it comes to the utilities and infrastructure upon which we most rely. Cybersecurity legislation without critical infrastructure protection is dangerously inadequate.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 mickeywhite

Why does Marsha, (Co-Sponsor of SOPA), Want Congress to Regulate the Internet? Why not just say NO FEDERAL branch (the FCC and congress and the federal courts included) has any authority to decide or rule on any aspect concerning the Internet? BUT Marsha Blackburn did Vote FOR: Patriot Act Reauthorization, Electronic Surveillance, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening, Patriot Act extension; and only NOW she is worried about free speech, privacy, and government take over of the internet? Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman. See her “blatantly unconstitutional” votes at : http://mickeywhite.blogspot.com/2009/09/tn-congressman-marsha-blackburn-votes.html Mickey

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group