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November 16
​Cybersecurity Bill Fails in the Senate
On November14, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) declared a U.S. cybersecurity bill (S. 3414), opposed by business and privacy groups, dead after it failed a test vote for the second time. This now leaves the door open for President Obama to issue an executive order on the issue.

The measure, introduced by Senator Lieberman (I-CT), would have increased information-sharing between intelligence agencies and private companies. Specifically, the bill would have created a new intra-agency council to work with private companies to develop cybersecurity standards that businesses could voluntarily adopt. It also would have offered incentives to companies that volunteer for cybersecurity programs, including protection from lawsuits related to cyberincidents and increased help and information on cybersecurity issues from U.S. agencies. Finally, the measure also would have set voluntary standards for businesses that control electric grids or water treatment plants.

A motion to force a vote on the bill fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass, with only 51 senators backing it. The main stumbling block was disagreement over the role that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies should play in electronic defense. Business groups opposed the bill as overregulation and privacy groups worried it might open the door to Internet eavesdropping. Several Senators also raised privacy concerns about the bill, saying it would allow Internet service providers and other Web businesses to spy on customers to share information with the government without the need for a warrant.

Although Majority Leader Reid declared that the issue is dead for this Congress, it will surely be revisited in the 113th Congress.

Contact:  Deborah Cox · 202-942-4286



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