Senate Kills Cybersecurity Bill

November 15, 2012
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared a U.S. cybersecurity bill, opposed by business and privacy groups, dead on Wednesday after it failed a test vote for the second time.

The bill would have increased information-sharing between intelligence agencies and private companies. It also would have set voluntary standards for businesses that control electric grids or water treatment plants.

Business groups opposed the bill as overregulation and privacy groups worried it might open the door to Internet eavesdropping.

“Everyone should understand cybersecurity is dead for this Congress,” said Reid, a Democrat, adding, “Whatever we do on this bill, it’s not enough for the Chamber of Commerce.”

Reid invited President Barack Obama to issue an executive order “to fully protect our nation from the cybersecurity threat.”

The measure fell nine votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate on the bill and open the way to a final vote.

A trade group, the Software Alliance, said Congress should give top priority next year to bolstering security.

Backers had hoped to move the bill during the post-election session. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said recently that attacks on U.S. financial institutions and stock exchanges showed the need for more cyber safeguards.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last month that unnamed foreign elements had been targeting computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants and those that guide transportation.

Senator Susan Collins, the senior Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the risk from a cyber attack was huge.

“In all my years on the Homeland Security Committee, I cannot think of another issue where the vulnerability is greater and we’ve done less,” Collins said.

 

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Latest Comments

  • November 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm
    Nan says:
    For the US Chamber of Commerce and the senate to kill this bill is outrageous. Watch the testemony before the committee hearings on CSPAN and you'll understand the importance... read more
  • November 19, 2012 at 10:21 am
    Exadjuster says:
    As long as the FBI and CIA concentrate on emails between cat- fighting bimbos and their high ranking boy friends, I'll feel safer at night.
  • November 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm
    libra says:
    This is what happens when the issues are over their heads of the people elected to make decisions. They don't accept leadership, because they are concerned with setting prio... read more
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