Security Experts:

New Cybersecurity Legislation Introduced to the Senate

According to a new bill introduced to the Senate this week, cybersecurity will be a priority for the 113th Congress. Democratic leaders of the Senate homeland security, commerce and intelligence committees on Wednesday introduced S. 21, the CACC (Cybersecurity and American Cyber Competitiveness) Act, due to the urgent need to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure.

According to the bill itself, the purpose is to: "To secure the United States against cyber attack, to improve communication and collaboration between the private sector and the Federal Government, to enhance American competitiveness and create jobs in the information technology industry, and to protect the identities and sensitive information of American citizens and businesses."

Senate“The new Congress has a real opportunity to reach needed consensus on bipartisan legislation that will strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity,” said John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in a statement.

He added that over the last five years, the need for cybersecurity legislation has been made clear by military officials and business leaders in the public sector, stopping short of expressing his frustration that no meaningful legislation emerged due to those cries.

“The private sector and the government must work together to secure the networks that are vital to American businesses and communities. It is a priority this year to act on comprehensive cybersecurity legislation,” Senator Rockefeller added.

However, one senator made no bones about is frustrations and disappointment.

“I was disappointed that Congress could not come together to pass bipartisan cybersecurity legislation that I co-authored in the last Congress -- the Cybersecurity Act of 2012— because it was a significant improvement over our current cybersecurity laws, which numerous experts have said do not go far enough to protect us,” Tom Carper, the incoming Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said.

As it stands, S.21 primary aim is to improve the communications and collaboration between the private sector and the Federal Government, but in a way that fits within the realities of the 21st Century.

The bill has been referred to committee, where it will certainly see plenty of debate and change as it is written. It’s expected to go to the Senate floor for a vote later in the session.

A current copy is available here.  

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.