House E&C Committee to Hold Hearing on Cybersecurity

The House Energy & Commerce Committee cited
last month's cyberattacks on the Web site of the Motion Picture Association of
America and the threat to interconnected VoIP as among its reasons for holding
a hearing this week (Feb. 8) on cybersecurity threats to communications
networks and what the private sector, including cable-based ISP's, are doing about it.

internal memo from Republican staffers puts one exclamation point on the issue
by citing the attacks by cyberterrorist group "Anonymous" on MPAA and government cites
"in response to anti-digital piracy efforts."

attacks came in response to House and Senate consideration of the Stop Online
Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate,
both of which were eventually tabled after a Web-backed protest asserting the
bills would be Internet chilling or killing overreach.

memo also points out that attacks on networks could "disrupt all
Internet-enabled communications including interconnected VoIP service."

issue of cybersecurity has been heating up in the new session of Congress.

House Homeland Security Committee is vetting the Promoting and Enhancing
Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness (PRECISE) Act of 2011 (H.R.
3674), which "defines the Department of Homeland Security roles and
responsibilities and protects individual privacy during increased public-private
information sharing on cyberthreats." In addition, the Senate Intelligence
Committee last week held a hearing on cybersecurity legislation, which is being
worked on by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) among others.
Rockefeller said last week there was an urgent need for passage of legislation
to improve security of private networks and increase public-private info

pointed out they are in their third year of the cybersecurity legislation
effort and that he felt confident that, by now, "every voice has been
heard." One of those voices has been the National Cable &
Telecommunications Association, which has pointed out in the past that that was
one of the reasons they pushed during the network neutrality debate for the
flexibility to manage traffic on their networks given the billions of viruses,
worms, spam, malware, spyware and denial-of-service attacks operators face.

is also OK with more coordination with government and backed a House bill
introduced in November, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of
2011, that would increase info sharing while immunizing the private sector from
criminal or civil liability for using cybersecurity systems, sharing
information, or not acting on information obtained or shared.

Justice Department last week also named a new chief information officer to help
boost cybersecurity.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.