NCTA Backs Rockefeller Cybersecurity Bill

Joins in Letter with CTIA, US Telecom That Also Pushes for Info Sharing Bill

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association joined in a letter Monday supporting the cybersecurity bill introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and ranking member John Thune (R-S.D.).

"We applaud your bipartisan efforts and appreciate that your legislation avoids a prescriptive regulatory regime that does not fit the constantly evolving cyber threat environment and, in our view, would not improve cybersecurity," the group said.

NCTA, joined by CTIA: The Wireless Association and US Telecom, praised the fact that the bill, while putting the National Institute of Standards and Technology's role in developing cybersecurity standards for government and industry data protection, also makes clear those standards are voluntary.

The bill also calls for education and research, which industry is fine with as well. "The research and development, education and workforce, and awareness and preparedness titles of your bill are important elements as the nation improves its cyber defenses," they wrote.

But they also pushed Congress to pass legislation -- backed by House Republicans -- that allow for more sharing of cyberthreat info among stakeholders and with the government, including liability protections for the results of that sharing, including threat "neutralizing" actions.

They said those should respect privacy and civil liberties, which is an issue Rockefeller has with the CISPA legislation, which focuses on cyberthreat info sharing and liability protection. In response to that bill's passage in April, he called those protections "insufficient."

Rockefeller said at a hearing last week that some of those issues are not within his committee's purview, a point NCTA and the others acknowledged in the letter. "We recognize that these matters are largely outside the scope of the Commerce Committee's jurisdiction and will continue to work with you and the appropriate committees on these issues."