White House pans GOP cybersecurity bill

ADVERTISEMENT
"Resorting to half measures, such as legislation that relies on corporations to share more information for their own benefit without strong privacy protections, is not sufficient to address our nation’s critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and therefore is not commensurate with the very real and urgent cyber threats we face," she said. "As the President emphasized in the State of the Union, we need Congress to act swiftly to provide the authorities we proposed to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from the growing danger of cyber-threats."

Republicans, led by Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), introduced their cybersecurity bill, the Secure IT Act, on Thursday as an alternative to the measure backed by Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Collins (R-Maine), which is on a fast-track to a vote in the full Senate.

Unlike the Lieberman-Collins measure, the Republicans’ Secure IT Act would not give the Homeland Security Department the power to require critical computer systems to meet certain security standards.

The Republicans said such regulations would burden businesses and grow the federal deficit. Their measure focuses on encouraging private companies to share information about cyberthreats with the government and toughening penalties for cybercrimes.

Backers of the Lieberman-Collins measure say the regulatory powers are necessary to ensure that critical systems, such as electrical grids or dams, are secure from cyberattacks.