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DHS Proposes Cybersecurity Bill to Grant President Emergency Powers

Obama 2008The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee released a new proposal that would grant President Barack Obama and the administration significant authoritative powers over the cyber networks in an event of a cyber attack.

The bill is called The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 and is designed to “establish a clear organizational structure to lead federal efforts in safeguarding cyber networks,” as explained by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman.

The bill would allow the president to take control over a complying cyber network to stop incoming data from a particular country upon an attack. It will also organize and condense federal efforts to regulate cyberspace and create the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. Lieberman explained it is through these and other elements the bill would “allow agencies to move away from the system of after-the-fact paperwork compliance to real-time monitoring to secure critical systems.”

Lieberman described the Internet as a necessity of modern life. The creation of this bill coincides with his belief of the future influence that cyberspace will have on national issues.

“For all of its ‘user-friendly’ allure, the Internet can also be a dangerous place with electronic pipelines that run directly into everything from our personal bank accounts to key infrastructure to government and industrial secrets,” he said. “Our economic security, national security and public safety are now all at risk from new kinds of enemies — cyber-warriors, cyber-spies, cyber-terrorists and cyber-criminals.”

Along with Lieberman, Ranking Member of Homeland Security Committee Sen. Susan Collins and Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper also helped create the proposal.  As society becomes more and more reliant on the tools of the Internet and cyber infrastructures, a legislation such as this becomes pertinent to the protection of national security.

Carper explained his stance on the importance of this legislation. He said:  “We have to take steps now to modernize our approach to protecting this valuable, but vulnerable, resource. This legislation is a vital tool that America needs to better protect cyber space. It encourages the government and the private sector to work together to address this growing threat and provides the tools and resources for America to be successful in this critical effort.”

The bill would create a cybersecurity adviser to the president who would communicate closely with cyber activities of federal agencies and the private sector. It would require compliance with companies involved and would allow these companies to set their own specific security measures as long as they meet the director’s standards.

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