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Senate Democrats propose tentative cybersecurity bill

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In what may be a placeholder action, a handful of Democratic senators led by West Virginia Sen. John Rockefeller (D) introduced Jan. 22 a new bill on cybersecurity.

The bill (S. 21) doesn't propose action per se but calls on the legislative branch to affirm through a "sense of Congress" a number of creeds. Among them are that there should exist mechanisms for sharing cyber threat and vulnerability information between the government and the private sector, and that the two should develop a system to "assess cyber risk and prevent, detect, and robustly respond" to attacks against critical infrastructure.

Of course, behind those general sentiments can lie vast differences toward government involvement in private company security--differences that contributed largely to the 2012 failure of the Senate to approve a cybersecurity bill, with many Republicans opposed to measures such as mandatory cybersecurity auditing of critical infrastructure operators.

Some observers say the bill is meant more as a signal of continued senatorial interest in passing a bill rather than a final product. It "looks like a placeholder while they wait to see what comes out of the White House," James Lewis, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' technology and public policy program, told GovInfoSecurity.

For more:
- go to the THOMAS page for S. 21
- read a statement on the bill by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.)

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