We’ve reported recently on proposals for cybersecurity laws being drafted and introduced in Congress. Now here comes a new proposal from Senate Republicans.
A new version of a previously introduced bill, called the Secure IT Act, has been introduced in the Senate with backing from John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other Republican Senators.
The bill was originally introduced in March, but has been revamped to address the complaints of some critics, The Hill reports. Primarily, privacy advocates had argued that the proposal would give government agencies too much access to Americans’ private information.
If passed, the cybersecurity law will encourage businesses and government agencies to share information about security threats and incidents with each other. Also, government contractors would be required to notify the agencies they work with about significant IT security threats.
In response to those who argued the law would give the government too much access to private information, the bill’s sponsors say they tightened restrictions on what information agencies can use and retain.
The bill is being pushed as an alternative to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which was introduced by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and has been endorsed by the White House.
One key difference between the two proposals: The Cybersecurity Act would would allow the Department of Homeland Security to identify computer networks that could cause casualties or severe economic damage if attacked. The agency would set security regulations for companies operating those networks and penalize companies that can’t show they’re secure.
The Secure IT Act, on the other hand, would not create those new regulations for private companies.
Many of the Secure IT Act’s proposals have already been approved on the other side of Congress — the bill is similar to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives in April.
We’ll keep you posted on these and other proposed IT security laws.