Senate Cybersecurity Bill Sparking Concerns About Government Control: The Hill

Jan 30th, 2012 Legislation

On Jan. 29th, 2012, Gautham Nagesh wrote for The Hill on comprehensive cybersecurity legislation.  Apparently one cybersecurity bill will make it to the Senate floor this week.  That bill has not been publicly released.  

As for the bill, the article explained that its content gives DHS regulatory power over critical infrastructure.  These provisions, however, have left critical infrastructure owners concerned.  According to the article, some believe that the bill would give DHS overbroad powers to determine whether the private sector has an adequate cybersecurity management approach.  This describes the concept of intervention authority, or allowing the government to intervene in the private sector's cybersecurity practices when the data at hand is extremely important.  The article quoted Sen. Joe Lieberman on intervention authority: 

"The federal government must protect its own information. When this information is processed or stored by a contractor on behalf of an agency and isn't as secure as it should be, the government needs to have the authority to step in and improve security."

In essence, private entities fear that the US government will abuse its intervention authority by broadly interpreting what is important information. 

Supporters of the bill believe that these concerns are overblown.  The article noted that the bill applies to sensitive government data, not necessarily all government data.  Thus, the US government couldn't use its intervention authority for just any government data on private systems.  Moreover, the bill is not in final form; it appears likely that some provisions will be modified in committee.  Finally, this bill was presented as a less drastic alternative to internet kill switch legislation.  In comparison, this cybersecurity bill is "gentle."  That gentleness should hopefully sway critics.

Interesting point on the political debate over cybersecurity regulation: the article explained that everyone agrees that limited regulation is needed.  The debate really comes down to "which industries are regulated under the critical infrastructure portion of the bill and to what extent."

You can find The Hill source article here.

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Authors

Untitled Document
Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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