Rockefeller Introducing Cybersecurity Bill

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) will introduce the Cybersecurity Act of 2013 on Thursday.

The act passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously in July and will now be attached as an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act--the Defense Department's budget bill--with the blessing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

The bill is supported by a number of industry groups, including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, CTIA, and US Telecom.

When the bill was introduced, NCTA praised the fact that while putting the National Institute of Standards and Technology's in charge of developing cybersecurity standards for government and industry data protection, the bill also makes clear those standards are voluntary.

The bill also "supports cutting edge research, increases public awareness, and improves [the] workforce to better address cyber threats."

“The Commerce Committee took action months ago and unanimously passed this bipartisan bill that will improve the nation’s cybersecurity," said Rockefeller in a statement. "But it’s been sitting on the sidelines for too long and there’s too much at stake to not look for every opportunity to pass it in the Senate,” Rockefeller said. “So I’m introducing that legislation as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill and imploring my colleagues to join me in supporting this effort. It creates an environment that will cultivate the public-private partnerships essential to strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity.”

Rockefeller was a leader in trying to pass cybersecurity legislation in the last Congress, but Republicans and Democrats could not get together.

The President then issued an executive order on cybersecurity standards.

Neither that order nor the Rockefeller bill deals with allowing for more sharing of cyberthreat info among stakeholders and with the government, including liability protections for the results of that sharing--key issues with ISPs--but Rockefeller says he "strongly supports" coming up with a bipartisan information-sharing bill.

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.