Home > Cybersecurity News > Senators Kill the ‘Kill Switch’ with Call for Cyber Transparency

Senators Kill the ‘Kill Switch’ with Call for Cyber Transparency

Monday, February 28, 2011 | 2:32 PM Leave a comment Go to comments

Welcome back, Cybersecurity News readers, with an extra welcome extended out to new readers gained from the 2011 RSA Conference.

As the hype surrounding the potential government shutdown continues, one small piece of Capitol Hill has already closed its doors for good.

According to Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), the long-debated idea of the Internet ‘kill switch’ is dead.

Lieberman, who last year rolled out a comprehensive cybersecurity bill alongside Sens. Collins (R-Maine) and Carper (D-Del.), said in a statement that the legislation has been updated to include that “neither the President, the Director of the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications or any officer or employee of the United States Government shall have the authority to shut down the Internet.”

“We want to clear the air once and for all,” said the HSGAC chairman, regarding his former, ambiguous bill.  “As someone said recently, the term ‘kill switch’ has become the ‘death panels’ of the cybersecurity debate.”

“Our bill contains additional protections to explicitly prevent the President from shutting down the Internet,” said the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Collins.  “While experts question whether anyone can technically ‘shut down’ the Internet in the United States, our bill has specific language making it crystal clear that such actions are expressly prohibited.”

According to InformationWeek, the senators’ new “Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act of 2011,” formerly known as the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010,” calls for additional measures to enhance transparency and security among government agencies.

Proposing that each federal agency appoint a chief information security officer (CISO) to ensure cybersecurity regulation compliance, InformationWeek reports that the bill would require the CISOs to “collaborate with the federal CIO to develop an IT security architecture that can be used by a new office within the Department of Homeland Security called the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, which will be established if the bill is passed.”

“We have to take steps now to modernize our approach to protecting this valuable, but vulnerable, resource,” said bill co-sponsor Sen. Carper, regarding the new legislation. “We also have to balance our need for security in this new frontier with our democratic values of freedom and liberty.”

Following are the additional cybersecurity news headlines you may have missed:

White House asks for $548 million in cybersecurity R&D funding (InfoSecurity)

Homeland Security Seeks Cybersecurity Funding (InformationWeek)

Analysis: Weaker US budget outlook becoming reality for defense (Reuters)

Editorial: NATO Builds Its Cyberdefenses (New York Times)

Op-Ed: Cyberspace Wars (New York Times)

Pentagon Requests $2.3 Billion for Cybersecurity (eSecurity Planet)

DoD Talks Up Plans to Deploy Cybercommandos (Tech News World)

OPM tracks cyber skills of the pros (Federal News Radio)

NIST budget request could more than double cybersecurity spending (FedComputerWeek)

White House: America Needs a New Cybersecurity Force (Security News Daily)

US adopting new cyber attack plan for security warriors (Network World)

Government Officials Warn of Cyber Attacks (Automation World)

House IP Chairman on COICA: “We Don’t Want To Be Egypt” (Broadband Breakfast)

Lawmakers fret over lack of cyber defense coordination (Defense Systems)

GAO High Risk list calls out cybersecurity (FierceGovIT)

Opinion: Now is the time for Congress and Obama to tackle cybersecurity (NextGov)

Hacker group ‘Anonymous’ threatens judgment day on Westboro Baptist Church (The Daily Caller)

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES:

 

Cyber attack hits Ottawa; probe focuses on IP addresses from China (Globe and Mail)

China denies Canada hacking involvement (AFP)

Middle East Unrests Means Interference, Cyber Attack (Radio World)

Egypt, Cybersecurity and Pervez Musharraf (Russia BTH)

Israel could still strike Iran, despite Mideast unrest (Haaretz)

Iran Is Exploring Nuclear Weapons, Watchdog Says (Wall Street Journal)

Iranian Hackers Attack VOA Internet Sites (Voice of America)

UK asks EU to tighten access to carbon registries (Reuters)

European Union faces legal action over fraudulent carbon emissions trading (The Guardian)

Energy firms fear major cyber attack on grid this year (UK Telegraph)

Irish team played key role in deciphering virus at center of Iran cyber hit (Irish Times)

Germany shores up defenses against Internet attacks (Deutsche Welle)

Dutch govt plans national cybersecurity centre (Telecom Paper)

INDUSTRY NEWS:

 

SAIC puts new cybersecurity software on market (UPI)

Norton launches free online cybercrime index in London (InfoSecurity)

ManTech Rolls with Aggressive M&A Strategy to Boost Key Offerings (ExecutiveBiz)

General Dynamics Wins $78.4 Million US Navy Cybersecurity Deal (ExecutiveBiz)

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