U.S. Cyber-Security Legislation Unlikely This Year

Concerns over privacy and overbroad language will likely delay passage of proposed cyber-security legislation until after this year’s 111th session of Congress expires.

The efforts to craft and pass such legislation hinge on concerns that critical systems in such areas as health, transport or defense could be affected by attacks launched by cyber-criminals or rogue states. Proposed legislation is sponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, (I-Conn.), Susan Collins, (R-Maine), and Tom Carper, (D-Del.)

Their bill would give the president authority to take "emergency measures to protect the nation's most critical infrastructure if a cyber vulnerability is being exploited or is about to be exploited."

But it has alarmed privacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, who criticize the proposed legislation as overly broad. The powers "are not defined. They could be as broad as the Communications Act powers that would allow the government to seize control of the communications structure and shut it down or use it to its own ends," Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s legislative counsel, told DefenseNews last week.

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