T&D World Magazine

Senators Renew Push to Strengthen Cybersecurity

U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Coats (R-IN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Richard Burr (R-NC) have re-introduced the Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information, and Technology Act (SECURE IT), S. 3342, their proposal to protect and secure our nation against cybersecurity attacks. The re-introduced bill improves several areas of the bill as well as enhances privacy protections and civil liberties oversight.

“It is past time for Congress to address the global cyber threat facing our nation. The key to successfully fighting this threat is not adding more bureaucrats or forcing industries to comply with government red-tape,” said Sen. McCain. “Instead, we must leverage the ingenuity and innovation of the private sector in partnership with the most effective elements of the federal government to address this emerging threat.”

Improvements to SECURE IT include further tightening the definition of cyber threat information to provide stronger protections for consumers. It will also clarify the responsibilities of the cybersecurity centers to facilitate information sharing with each other and with other federal entities and the private sector. The latest version also makes clear that the bill does not provide any authority for the Federal Government to use or retain cyber threat information, other than those authorities specified in the bill, and includes additional oversight for protection of privacy and civil liberties. It does not provide any new regulatory authority. It will also ensure that agencies will adopt and update technologies to prevent and remediate significant cyber-incidents.

The SECURE IT Act will:

  • Improve cybersecurity by collaborating with industry and eliminating barriers to enhanced information sharing.
  • Create expedited information sharing for the private sector using existing structures and reporting relationships.
  • Require federal contractors who provide cybersecurity-related services to a federal agency to report to those agencies significant cyber incidents related to those services.
  • Strengthen criminal statutes for cyber crimes.
  • Update the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) to modernize the way the government manages and mitigates its own cyber risks.
  • Leverage and strengthen existing programs in cybersecurity research and development.

Co-sponsors of the proposal are U.S. Sens. John McCain, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Saxby Chambliss, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dan Coats, Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and Ron Johnson, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, and Richard Burr, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

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