Lieberman: No need for more studies or hearings on cybersecurity bill

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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On Wednesday, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman urged his colleagues in the Senate to pass a controversial cybersecurity bill he said could wait no longer.

Lieberman is one of the main sponsors of the bill in question: The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which would allow federal agencies responsible for regulating critical infrastructure companies to mandate cybersecurity standards. Lieberman cited a Congressional Research Service report in which he said “the 112th Congress alone there have been 38 hearings and four markups in the House and 33 hearings in the Senate on cybersecurity.”

He also noted that in the 112th Congress, “the Judiciary Committee also held a markup on the Personal Data and Privacy Security Act, and in previous congresses the Senate held mark-ups of cybersecurity legislation in five separate committees under regular order.”

In order to bolster his case, Lieberman then appealed to the history of cybersecurity legislation in the Senate.

“Since 2005, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee alone has held 10 hearings with 48 witnesses testifying and taking questions over a total of 18 hours. And, along with the bill’s co-sponsors — Democratic Sens. Feinstein and Rockefeller — we’ve held numerous briefings, forums and cybersecurity demonstrations for members and staff,” Lieberman said.

“All these hearings and briefings were further informed by, according to CRS, a total of 60 government reports, totaling 2,624 pages, produced by the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Defense, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Energy and other federal agencies,” he continued.

“And this doesn’t count the many, many more reports from private sector computer security firms, like Symantec, and think tanks and academic institutes, like MIT and the Center for Strategic and International Studies,” Lieberman added.

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid drew heat from Republican opposition for placing a vote on the bill ahead of the defense budget.

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office found that experts viewed the federal and state regulatory regimes as a hinderance to critical infrastructure companies developing effective cybersecurity.

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