OVERNIGHT TECH: Senators make final push for cybersecurity bill

Michelle Richardson, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told The Hill that the lawmakers made "substantial changes," and that they undertook a "Herculean effort to build privacy protections" into the bill.

The measure requires that any information companies share with the government must go to civilian, not military, agencies. The bill also dictates that the information can only be used for cybersecurity purposes.

Richardson said the bill is "really separate" from the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which passed the House in April.

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Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior policy counsel at The Constitution Project, applauded the changes, saying they "go a long way toward alleviating our concerns."

The senators also overhauled the critical infrastructure provisions of the bill. Lieberman, along with co-sponsors Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call Republicans are today's Dixiecrats Biden's push for unity collides with entrenched partisanship MORE (R-Maine), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinJane Fonda to push for end to offshore oil drilling in California Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council on Mental Wellbeing — Merck asks FDA to authorize five-day COVID-19 treatment Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE (D-Calif.) and Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerHumorless politics a sad sign of our times Bottom Line World Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease MORE (D-W.Va.), had argued that critical systems such as electrical grids and gas pipelines should be required to meet minimum cybersecurity standards.

But Republicans balked at the requirements, worrying that they would impose unnecessary burdens on businesses.

The bill establishes a multi-agency National Cybersecurity Council to incentivize, but not require, companies to meet cybersecurity standards.

"In other words, we are going to try carrots instead of sticks as we begin to improve our cyber defenses," Lieberman said. But he said if the voluntary measures don't work, "a future Congress will undoubtedly come back and adopt a more coercive system."

It's unclear yet whether the changes to the critical infrastructure provisions will be enough to win over the bill's skeptics.

One Republican aide told The Hill: "We view this move as more of a political exercise that anything else, and the conversations between the offices continue."

Some GOP senators, including Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBiden likely to tap Robert Califf to return as FDA head Poll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat  Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (N.H.), also expressed frustration that Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt Fight over Biden agenda looms large over Virginia governor's race MORE (D-Nev.) was moving cybersecurity before the defense authorization bill.


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