Senate Democrats look to toughen privacy protections in cybersecurity bill

Franken said he planned to offer an amendment that would remove measures in Lieberman's bill that would give Internet service providers and other private companies the authority to monitor communications flowing through their information systems for cyber threats and use certain countermeasures to combat them. Franken argued that those provisions are written too broadly and would allow companies to sort through people's emails or damage their computers, all while being immune from legal action.

He said his amendment would put the bill in line with the information-sharing section in the legislative proposal released by the Obama administration last year. Franken added that it already has seven co-sponsors.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he plans to offer an amendment that would add a five-year sunset provision that would require Congress to consider updating the measures in the cybersecurity bill.

When speaking on the Senate floor, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he would support both amendments and also put forward an amendment that would stiffen the penalties for entities that violate the privacy protections outlined in the bill.

Blumenthal also said he is considering an amendment that would create a chief privacy officer in the Office of Management and Budget. Another measure he would like to see is one that would require federal agencies that have suffered a data breach to notify people who were affected by the intrusion.