Senate Releases Draft Cybersecurity Bill

The Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee released a draft bill today that attempts to tackle the thorny issue of cybersecurity. The draft bill is backed by Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and ranking Republican member John Thune (R-S.D.). Its creators claim that the draft is an attempt to create a compromise on the issue of cybersecurity after repeated (and failed) attempts to pass legislation through the Senate last term. The House passed CISPA in this term, but the Senate seemed to be afraid of picking it up, instead opting for an approach that tackled several delicate issues separately.

Rockefeller expects to mark up the legislation later this month, according to a committee aide speaking to The Hill.

The senate draft bill would put the Commerce Department agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in charge of creating "voluntary cybersecurity standards and best practices" for protecting critical infrastructure such as banks and power plants. The legislation would also work on creating better cybersecurity research, education, and public awareness.

The bill does not include authority for the Department of Homeland Security to enforce mandatory standards for critical infrastructure – a facet of last year's bill that Republicans in the Senate strongly opposed.

This is just one of several bills that the Senate is expected to work on in this session; some legislation to deal with information sharing is also in the works, according to The Hill. Any legislation dealing with the issue of information sharing between the private sector and the government would likely be taken up by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

You can read the draft bill here.

Source: The Hill

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