Cybersecurity Continues as a Thorny Congressional Issue

Figuring out how to protect sensitive information and computer networks without compromising proprietary information and creating yet another Federal bureaucracy is an ongoing uphill slog for members of the Senate.

Bills have been introduced by Senators Harry Reid (S 2105) and Dianne Feinstein (S 2102), Democrats from Nevada and California, respectively, that would create new Federal standards for industry as a means of collecting and sharing information in a protected environment. The measures promote the exchange of classified information between industry and the Federal government through “cybersecurity exchanges” managed by the Department of Homeland Security. In return for sharing “threat” related information, businesses would receive protection from lawsuits. Currently, accepted business practices combined with the threat of litigation has made the private sector wary of sharing information about threats.

Senate Republicans are expected to weigh in with their own cybersecurity bill this week. Although no language was available as of this writing, the measure is expected to focus more on enhanced information sharing opportunities than creating new standards. Expected Republican co-sponsors include Lisa Murkowski (AK), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), and Saxby Chambliss (GA).