Langevin: CISPA is a 'good faith' effort to address cybersecurity

Noted cybersecurity campaigner Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) told an May 2 audience he supports legislation approved by the House last week, including the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.

The bill (H.R. 3523), known as CISPA, garnered considerable opposition from privacy and civil liberties groups as well as a possible White House veto threat.

Speaking before a cybersecurity conference at the University of Rhode Island, Langevin said (.pdf) CISPA represents "a good-faith effort to come together in a first step towards better cybersecurity for our nation." The legislation is not perfect, he said, and added that he will "continue to work with privacy and civil liberties groups to ally their concerns."

Langevin was co-sponsor of a bill (H.R. 3674) supported by the House Homeland Security Committee not brought to the floor by House leadership despite a last minute attempt by committee Republicans to strip the bill of provisions that would have permitted the Homeland Security Department to possibly regulate the cybersecurity efforts of critical infrastructure operators.

Langevin's portion of the bill, primarily sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), calls on the Homeland Security Department to develop a training program for a cybersecurity workforce and support "educational paths to cybersecurity professions."

"We're going to continue at it, and hopefully that bill will be brought back up," Langevin said.

Langevin also called on Congress to approve cybersecurity legislation that would elevate the executive office of the president to a central coordinating role over cyber activities. The position of cyber coordinator (aka cyber czar) lacks policy and budgetary authority, Langevin noted.

CISPA would not grant that authority. However, a bill (H.R. 4257) primarily sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) the House also approved last week would place oversight of federal cybersecurity programs firmly in the hand of the Office of Management and Budget, which this administration has to give the Homeland Security Department.

Speaking after Langevin, Mark Weatherford, DHS deputy under secretary for cybersecurity, also called for Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation--legislation that would keep DHS in a central role.

"DHS executes its portion of the federal cybersecurity mission under an array of existing statutory and executive authorities," he said. "Unfortunately, these authorities have simply failed to keep up with the responsibilities DHS is charged with leading."

For more:
- download Langevin's prepared remarks from his website (.pdf)
- watch Langevin deliver his speech (embedded video)
- watch Weatherford's remarks (embedded video)

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