Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me) unveiled a new cybersecurity bill yesterday along with Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper (D-De). The legislation looks to strengthen, modernize and coordinate federal civilian networks and select private sector networks that are part of the critical infrastructure.
The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, S.3480, would create a new office in the White House called the Office of Cyber Policy, whose director would be confirmed by the Senate. The Department of Homeland Security would also have a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, whose director would also be Senate confirmed. The office would enforce cyber policy in the government and private sector.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee intends to hold a hearing on the bill on June 15.
“The Internet may have started out as a communications oddity some 40 years ago but it is now a necessity of modern life, and sadly one that is under constant attack,“ said Lieberman. “It must be secured, ““ and today, Senators Collins, Carper, and I have introduced a bill which we believe will do just that. The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 is designed to bring together the disjointed efforts of multiple federal agencies and departments to prevent cyber theft, intrusions, and attacks across the federal government and the private sector. The bill would establish a clear organizational structure to lead federal efforts in safeguarding cyber networks. And it would build a public/private partnership to increase the preparedness and resiliency of those private critical infrastructure cyber networks upon which our way of life depends.”
Lieberman also said the Internet is a dangerous place with new risks from new enemies.
“For all of its “˜user-friendly' allure, the Internet can also be a dangerous place with electronic pipelines that run directly into everything from our personal bank accounts to key infrastructure to government and industrial secrets,” he said. ” Our economic security, national security and public safety are now all at risk from new kinds of enemies — cyber-warriors, cyber-spies, cyber-terrorists and cyber-criminals.”
The bill would also update the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and would require critical infrastructure to report significant data breaches to DHS. Additionally, the bill would require OPM to change the way cyber professionals are recruited and retained by the government.
“For too long, our approach to cyber security has been disjointed and uncoordinated. Our vital legislation would fortify the government's efforts to safeguard America's cyber networks from attack,” Collins said. “This bill would build a public/private partnership to promote national cyber security priorities and help prevent and respond to cyber attacks.“