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Senators plan compromise on cybersecurity bill as deadline approaches

Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are drafting a bipartisan cybersecurity bill designed to pass before the Senate enters summer recess next month.


Kevin Collier


Posted on Jul 9, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 2:44 pm CDT

It’s almost do-or-die time for the Senate to pass a cybersecurity bill, and two senators are reportedly hammering out a compromise bill that will have the greatest chance of becoming law.

Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are creating a modified version of the so-called Lieberman-Collins Bill, named after creator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). Their bill—which is now on its second draft—could be finished within days, the Hill reported.

Lieberman, who retires in January, has demanded that the Senate pass some cybersecurity bill in July, warning that waiting any longer would mean the Senate would enter summer recess without addressing the issue.

Two other cybersecurity bills are competing for the Senate’s attention: the Cyber Intelligence Security Protection Act (CISPA), a Republican-led bill that passed the House in April, and John McCain’s Secure IT Act, which was created as a CISPA alternative.

Lieberman has indicated he’d prefer any bill to none at all, but that may not be up to him: the White House, which has indicated support for Lieberman-Collins, has promised to veto CISPA, though some think President Obama might not follow through with that promise.

Lieberman-Collins, however, faces opposition in the Senate. It would require private companies that deal in critical infrastructure to meet security standards created by the Department of Homeland Security, and Senate Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce have argued that this would lead to companies simply following rules, rather than actively improving their own security.

CISPA, on the other hand, focuses on sharing information between government agencies and companies that face cyber attacks. Though this takes pressure off of individual companies trying to fight hackers, it means those agencies can circumvent privacy restrictions.

For several months, CISPA has been targeted by Internet rights supporters who claim the bills would grant government agencies too much power to spy on citizens.

It’s unclear exactly what the modified Lieberman-Collins bill will look like. Representatives for Senators Kyl and Whitehouse didn’t return the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: Jul 9, 2012, 2:36 pm CDT