NCTA Backs House Cybersecurity Bills


The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has joined with US Telecom and CTIA: The Wireless Association to push for cybersecurity legislation that emphasizes info sharing, liability protections for industry, and more R&D over government-enforced security guidelines.

The same groups got together last week to outline their basic cybersecurity principles, which generally dovetail with Republican-backed House bills that emphasize self-regulation.

In a letter to House leaders in advance of scheduled House floor votes later this week on cybersecurity legislation, NCTA and company again asked Congress to pass H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), adding their support for three other related bills--H.R. 3834, Advancing America's Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act; H.R. 2096, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011; and H.R. 4257, the Federal Information Security Amendments Act.

Together, the cable and phone trade associations argue the bills will provide a "flexible and adaptable" cybersecurity policy that relies on industry best practices rather than prescriptive government rules they say will be outdated before they can be enforced.

"Effective cybersecurity detection and deterrence also requires the ongoing sharing of threat information between government and infrastructure providers," they wrote. "The communications industry has a long history of cooperative efforts on national security matters. Legislation can greatly improve cybersecurity by removing current legal barriers to information sharing and including appropriate safeguards necessary for facilitating information sharing."

NCTA and company told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that industry and government interests are aligned on cybersecurity, and said that they have already taken "significant steps" to protect the security and privacy of their customers, all without government regulation or "other legal compulsion."

They did not mention it, but one of those steps was the agreement by some of their biggest members last month to an FCC voluntary cybersecurity regime for dealing with threats like online threats including botnets and domain name hijacking.