The U.S. Senate voted today to cut off debate of a watered down cybersecurity bill being pushed by the Obama administration. Although the bill had bipartisan support, both Republicans and a handful of Democrats voted 52 to 46 against continued debate of the bill, essentially leaving it dead in the water with eight fewer votes than it needed to bring it to a final vote. Cybersecurity experts have warned for years that the U.S.’s technology infrastructure is in grave danger of attack and in February of 2012, a group of senators led by Independent Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman sponsored the bill along with members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Objections to the original bill by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the ACLU and Republican lawmakers prompted changes last month that watered down the bill. The new, less restrictive version won the support of the ACLU, but not the business lobbying groups. The White House responded with a statement that the vote was “a profound disappointment.”
Is legislation the best way to guard the computer systems that control our critical infrastructure? How can the government and private industry best keep our information safe?
Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute; Harper was a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security's Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee
Dave McIntyre, visiting fellow at the WMD Center in Washington DC and author of “Business Continuity and Homeland Security”