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May 2010

Cybersecurity bill lacks details

The Rockefeller-Snowe cybersecurity legislation is promising on several fronts, but if you actually plow through the bill's text, you'll find some questionable provisions and parts that beg for clarification. To be sure, the new draft of the Cybersecurity Act of 2010 (S. 773) is an improvement over last year's version, which included an infamous "kill switch" that would give the president the authority to shut down the Internet in the event of a massive cyberattack. The idea went over like a lead balloon and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who co-sponsored the revised legislation with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), was careful to note that it "does not give any new or broader authority to the president." However, it does allow the president to declare a cybersecurity emergency -- without defining what would constitute a cybersecurity emergency. Rockefeller says the legislation is designed to prepare the U.S. for a major cyberattack by providing a framework for private-public sector collaboration. Among other things, the bill would support ...

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Columns in this issue