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Big week for cybersecurity bill

John Moe Jul 23, 2012

In Washington this week, the cybersecurity bill spearheaded by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is expected to get a big workout. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to shepherd the bill to the floor of the Senate with a procedural vote coming as soon as a week from today. In order to whip up support for the bill, there have been a series of revisions to the bill aimed at making it more palatable to both sides of the aisle and move it closer to passage.
From The Hill:

This past week, Lieberman and the four other co-sponsors of the cybersecurity bill — Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) — introduced a revised version that attempts to soften provisions that would have required companies operating critical infrastructure to meet a set of security standards developed, in part, by the Homeland Security Department.

Republicans senators and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly opposed the earlier infrastructure provisions, arguing they would saddle industry with burdensome regulations and create a bureaucratic nightmare.
The bill faces a rival bill supported by the GOP that is much more business friendly, featuring no security mandates.

Lieberman’s revised bill would establish a program where critical infrastructure operators would certify that they meet a set of performance standards in exchange for various incentives, such as liability protections. The idea was hatched by a bipartisan working group that was led by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

“We are going to try carrots instead of sticks as we begin to improve our cyber defenses,” Lieberman said in a statement. But he said if the voluntary measures don’t work, “a future Congress will undoubtedly come back and adopt a more coercive system.”

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