Sen. Rockefeller presses Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation

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The Senate is expected to begin debate on the Rockefeller-Lieberman-Collins proposal in the coming days after spending years raising awareness and forging bipartisan agreement on the issue. But late resistance from federal IT contractors and some Republicans has jeopardized the success of the effort.

One expert predicted concerns about regulatory overreach recently articulated by Juniper Networks would be enough to scuttle the bill. If not, the expert said the House is still unlikely to pass sweeping new federal network security regulations in an election year.

The House has begun movement on cybersecurity legislation of its own in recent months, focused mostly on incentives for information sharing between the public and private sectors. The leaders of the effort are Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), who have stuck to the bipartisan tone.

But experts warn that voluntary incentives alone won't be enough to compel firms to take adequate security measures. The White House and Senate plan echo that approach, but vary on the means of ensuring firms comply. IT firms contend cost is the reason firms don't take more action on security.