CybersecuritySenate panel signs off on cybersecurity bill

Published 1 August 2013

The Senate Commerce Committee has approved a cybersecurity bill aiming to bolster protection of U.S. critical infrastructure. The full Senate will vote on the bill by the end of the year. The bill codifies parts of of President Obama’s February 2013 cybersecurity executive order. Among other things, the executive order instructs the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) to draft a set of cybersecurity practices and standards.

The Senate Commerce Committee has approved a cybersecurity bill aiming to bolster protection of U.S. critical infrastructure. The full Senate will likely vote on the bill by the end of the year.

The Hill reports that the bill, authored  by Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and John Thune (R-South Dakota), will codify parts of  of President Obama’s February 2013 cybersecurity executive order. Among other things, the executive order instructs the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) to draft a set of cybersecurity practices and standards. The adoption by criticl infrastructure companies of the practices and standards NIST will include in the final version of its cybersecurity framework will be voluntary.

“Our bill takes some important steps to help our private companies and our government agencies to defend their networks against their adversaries,” Rockfeller said in his opening statements at the panel’s markup. “It doesn’t do everything we need to do to improve our cybersecurity, but it’s a good start and I thank Senator Thune for working with me on this urgent issue.”

Several amendments have been included to the bill to boost cybersecurity efforts.

One amendment created by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) will require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to draft a report every two years on  NIST’s effort to develop new standards to better protect critical infrastructure. Another amendment, by Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia), will establish cybersecurity research centers.

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