Senators to introduce compromise cybersecurity legislation, with FISMA revisions

Yet another cybersecurity bill to be introduced next week in Congress
Yet another cybersecurity bill to be introduced next week in Congress

Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Me.), and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) intend to introduce the compromise bill, called simply the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. A hearing on the bill by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is set for Feb. 16 at 2:20 p.m.

The bill would, among other things, authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enforce cbyersecurity standards on privately owned critical infrastructure. Companies would have the option to appeal such regulation, however, a committee spokeswoman told the Federal Times.

The bill would also revise the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) to require continuous monitoring of agencies' information technology systems and put an end to manual, paper-based reporting of agencies' security levels; outline how DHS and the private sector will share cybersecurity information; consolidate all DHS infrastructure cybersecurity programs into a new unit called the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications; and promote research and development, training, and hiring of cybersecurity professionals, according to the Federal Times.

Last year, Lieberman and Collins, along with Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), introduced the Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act, and Rockefeller, along with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), introduced the Data Security and Breach Notification Act. The compromise bill appears to be an effort to speed the Senate’s passage of comprehensive cybesecurity legislation, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he wants to pass in the first working period of the 2012 legislative session.

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