Newly Revised Cybersecurity Bill Introduced in Senate

    This revised bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins of the Senate Homeland security committee. It is basically a somewhat scaled-back version of a bill introduced in February of this year and many people are saying that it is a better version. This new revision includes the formation of a multi agency National Cybersecurity Council whose purpose would basically be to assess the risks and vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure computer systems. There would be involvement on the part of several entities within the government including members of the Pentagon, the Department of Commerce, the Justice Department, the intelligence community and federal regulatory agencies related to specific critical infrastructure governing while being led by Homeland Security Secretary.

    This revised bill, in comparison to the original, does not require corporations and/or companies involved in critical infrastructure computing systems to meet a set of security standards; rather, these entities can elect to be part of a voluntary cyber security program demonstrating their level of security through self certification or third-party assessment and such actions would result in certain incentives. The bill does require that critical infrastructure systems, meaning those whose failure could result in mass casualties or devastating economic/systemic damage would be required to report for significant cyber incident at its computer systems.The bill also restricts how the government can use collected information and this is one thing that many see as an improvement over the original bill. There are of course others who refer to this bill as a mere political exercise especially where it has only so far been proposed and not implemented or passed into law. President Obama has been cited in news reports as having urged the Senate to pass this bill and whether or not that actually happens remains to be seen but is likely a better option than what had previously been proposed.