The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee has attached his cybersecurity bill (S.1353) as an amendment to next year’s National Defense Authorization Act. If the amendment manages to survive the approval process Sen. Rockefeller’s Cybersecurity Act of 2013 may finally become law. S.1353, was unanimously approved by the Commerce Committee in July but has been stalled since then. In a statement made by Rockefeller earlier this week, the senator from West Virginia suggested that the time is now for Congress to finally enact a bill that would mandate protections for America’s cyber infrastructure and the private entities attached to it.
"The Commerce Committee took action months ago and unanimously passed this bipartisan bill that will improve the nation’s cybersecurity. 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 in a statement first published on Wednesday by John Eggerton at Multichannel News. "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."
Rockefeller went on to say that his bill "creates an environment that will cultivate the public-private partnerships essential to strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity."
In 2012, attempts in Congress to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) ultimately failed due largely in part to a major public campaign by rights groups that condemned the bill. The revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the NSA's various domestic spying program also brought talk about cybersecurity legislation to a screeching halt.
We will have more on this story as it develops.