Weighing In: Cybersecurity Legislation

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New Cybersecurity legislation cleared a congressional hurdle yesterday when the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act. The legislation would, among other things, establish a White House Office for Cyberspace Policy to advise the President on policy issues, as well as a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security to fortify that agency’s capability and authority.

Of primary concern to those opposing the act is a clause widely referred to as the “kill switch” (S. 3480), which effectively grants the President authority to shut down the internet in the event of a cyber attack.

In response to this and other concerns surrounding the legislation, the committee released a factual overview of the bill.  The report counters that rather than granting executive authority, it instead places limits on the President’s currently unchecked authority, granted under the Communications Act of 1934, allowing the President to “cause the closing of any facility or station for wire communication”.

FedScoop’s feeds have been ripe with blogger input on the legislation, check out some of the opinions below and share your thoughts!  (Also, for the full scoop on yesterday’s committee vote, check out Gautham Nagesh’s coverage in for The Hill’s HilliconValley tech blog.)

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