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 CollinsSenate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' MORE (R-Maine), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe GOP lawmaker offers constitutional amendment capping Supreme Court seats at 9 Overnight Energy: Judge halts drilling on Wyoming public lands over climate change | Dems demand details on Interior's offshore drilling plans | Trump mocks wind power MORE (D-Calif.) and Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Overnight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term 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 AyotteSchultz recruiting GOP insiders ahead of possible 2020 bid Bottom Line US, allies must stand in united opposition to Iran’s bad behavior MORE (N.H.), also expressed frustration that Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid slams Comey for Russia election meddling Suicide is not just a veteran problem — it is an American problem The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE (D-Nev.) was moving cybersecurity before the defense authorization bill.


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