It was cybersecurity rush hour inside the Beltway on Wednesday with Sen. Jay Rockefeller calling on the SEC to issue formal guidance on disclosures; the House Intelligence Committee preparing to mark up H.R. 624, the "Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act" (CISPA); and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introducing the SECURE IT Act.
The SECURE IT Act, which made an appearance in the last Congress as an alternative to a Democrat-backed bill, would "allow the government and the private sector to address cyber threat information in a more transparent fashion; reform how our government manages its own information systems; create new deterrents for cyber criminals; prioritize research and development for cybersecurity initiatives; and streamline consumers' ability to be notified when they are at risk of identity theft or financial harm."
A Balckburn spokesman said the bill was a complement to CISPA. ""There is no single bullet solution to cyber security," he said.
Democrats and Republicans were split in the last Congress over whether the government should also mandate the creation of voluntary cybersecurity best practices. Generally, Republicans said no; Democrats said yes. Both sides concede cyberthreats are growing and some form of legislation is needed, but it remains to be seen whether they can come together on a compromise bill that will pass both houses of Congress.
President Obama issued an executive order on cybersecurity in February after Congress failed to pass legislation last time around. It called for the creation of those guidelines and eased government sharing of cyber threat info with industry, but did not deal with industry sharing with itself and with government, or liability protections for that sharing, since the president did not have the authority to mandate that.
Blackburn called the executive order heavy handed and said SECURE IT was a "conservative, incentive-based framework that opens up collaboration between the government and the private sector while also providing safeguards to citizens when their sensitive data is compromised," Blackburn said in a statement.