New cybersecurity measures will likely have to wait, says Senator John Cornyn.
Mired in debate over Planned Parenthood and highway funding, the Senate is unlikely to reach a vote on Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) before it breaks for August recess.
The White House chastised Senators’ failure to act: “That they have the gall to leave town without even touching cyber security legislation – we think that’s revelatory to of their priorities. And we think those are misplaced priorities,” said Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz.
If passed, House leaders have already branded the controversial bill – which requires private companies and the federal government to share sensitive information – “dead on arrival” in their chamber.
“My concern is that they have an NSA information-sharing component in there that I think would be problematic in many ways in the House,” Rep. Mike McCaul told National Journal earlier this summer . “I’ve warned them that if that kind of bill comes back, it’s not going to pass, and that’s the political reality.” McCaul authored his own cyber-security bill, one of two alternative bills passed by the House in the spring.
Branded the “cyber spying bill” by critics, the Senate’s information-sharing provisions have riled opponents. Senator Ron Wyden dismissed CISA as “a surveillance bill by another name.”
“Operation FaxBigBrother” has been fax-blasting Hill offices in a grassroots effort to block the legislation. The group alleges: “CISA could not have prevented the OPM hack, and no Senator could explain how it could have. Congress and the NSA are using irrational hysteria to turn the Internet into a place where the government has overly broad, unchecked powers.”
Despite this, recent attacks at the Office of Personnel Management and United Airlines fuel fear of future aggression and breaches of personal information. Earlier this year, Senator Susan Collins ominously forecasted a “cyber 9/11” without imminent Congressional action.
If time runs out next week, Congress plans to resume consideration of CISA in the fall.
Could CISA create jobs for cleared cyber and tech experts?
While the bulk of the bill concerns a dialogue between private companies and federal agencies, it also indicates the government is in the market for exceptional cybersecurity technologies – and quickly.
The bill requires agencies to investigate and report to Congress on “technologies or practices utilized by the private sector that could be rapidly fielded to assist the intelligence community in preventing and responding to cybersecurity threats.”
Likewise, the government must provide “an assessment of additional technologies or capabilities that would enhance the ability of the United States to prevent and to respond to cybersecurity threats, including cyber attacks, theft, and data breaches.”