By Jennifer Martinez and Brendan Sasso - 03/21/13 11:10 PM EDT
THE LEDE: After two full weeks of cybersecurity hearings in both chambers, work still remains to be done on legislation aimed at bolstering the nation's cyber defenses.
The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), are aiming to mark up the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) next month. But headed into the House's two-week recess, conversations about possible amendments were still ongoing.
"I think the chairman is working in earnest to try to reach an appropriate compromise," Schiff told The Hill on Wednesday. "I don't think we're there yet."
The California Democrat is aiming for the bill to require companies to strip personally identifiable information from the cyber threat data they share with the government, and also "narrow both the definition of the data that's shared [with the government], as well as the purpose for which it is utilized."
The bill aims to remove the legal hurdles that prevent companies from sharing information about cyber threats with the government in real time. Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates say CISPA lacks sufficient protections for Americans' electronic communications and would widen the people of user data flowing to the military.
Rogers and Ruppersberger contend that companies are only interested in sharing information about malicious source code and other online threats they spot on their networks.
Ruppersberger said they're aiming to finalize the amendments in "the next week or so" and that conversations with the White House and privacy groups are ongoing.
"We feel that the bill clearly deals with privacy, that the checks and balances are there, but we're know there's still a perception and we're still trying to deal with that," he said.
In the upper chamber, Senate Homeland Security Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) said members and staff have been going through a series of classified briefings on the cyber threat, but no legislation has been drafted just yet.
"I think we're building a good base of understanding," he said.
Gillibrand to re-introduce cyber bill: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is expected to introduce a bill on Friday that would establish cyber national guard teams that would leverage private-sector IT talent to beef up the country's cybersecurity efforts. Gillibrand has introduced similar legislation in previous years that aims to expand the country's workforce of skilled cyber professionals.
Rubio hopes court will strike down net neutrality: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Commerce Committee, said on Thursday that he hopes the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality regulations are struck down in federal court.
He argued that the regulations "constitute public utility-style regulation" of broadband Internet and urged opponents of the rules to prepare to battle regulatory and legislative efforts to reinstate them if they are overturned in court.
In his speech at the Free State Foundation, Rubio backed proposals that would require the FCC to demonstrate the benefits of its regulations, limit the agency's ability to set conditions on deals and set binding deadlines on proceedings.
He called for a full study of how federal agencies are using spectrum and said the government should give up more spectrum for auction to wireless carriers. He also said he supports spectrum sharing and unlicensed spectrum.
"The future of the digital transition can be secured if we keep the Internet free from regulation and intergovernmental control, and if we get more spectrum into the commercial market," Rubio said.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Senators clash over online tax: Senators clashed on Thursday over a budget resolution amendment to empower states to tax online purchases.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) argued in speeches on the Senate floor that the amendment, which is based on their Marketplace Fairness Act, would close an unfair loophole that benefits online retailers over local brick-and-mortar stores.
But Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the Finance Committee, called the proposal "revolutionary" and said lawmakers should take more time to consider potential consequences before rushing to a vote.
Bill would limit GPS tracking: A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday that would require police to obtain a warrant to collect location data from a person's cellphone, tablet, car or other electronic device.
The Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act would cover both real-time tracking of people's movements as well as collecting past location records from cellphone service providers.
Republicans criticize administration's response to cyber theft: House Republicans on Thursday criticized the Obama administration's response to cyber espionage campaigns stemming from China and Russia, saying officials have failed to outline a set of repercussions that countries would suffer if they steal trade secrets or launch another type of cyberattack against the United States.
At a House hearing, GOP members of the House Foreign Affairs subpanel on Emerging Threats said the administration needs to take stronger action against China other than just sharpening the tone of its comments to Beijing about reports of Chinese hackers siphoning billions of dollars of intellectual property from American companies.
Microsoft reveals data on police snooping: Following Google's lead, Microsoft revealed data on Thursday about the number of police requests for user data it received for services including Hotmail, Outlook, Xbox Live and Skype.
The company said that last year, it received 75,378 police requests for customer information from around the world, covering 137,424 accounts. Microsoft said it disclosed customer content, such as the texts of emails, in response to only 2.1 percent of those requests, or 1,558 times.
More than 99 percent of the time it disclosed content was in response to a warrant from a U.S. court, Microsoft said.
FDA: No 'iPhone tax' from health law: The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said it has no plans to subject smartphones and tablets to a controversial tax in President Obama’s healthcare law.
Republican members of House Energy and Commerce Investigations subcommittee this week seized on reports that the agency could extend the healthcare law's tax on medical devices to iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android devices.
Hackers can be battlefield targets, NATO report says: Hackers who carry out cyberattacks as part of a coordinated military campaign can be targeted as legitimate combatants, even if those individuals are civilian, according to a new NATO cyber warfare handbook.
Targeting of civilian hackers is one of many recommended mandates in the handbook, which also outlines specific rules of engagement for offensive and defensive cyber warfare missions.
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