Last updated: March 9, 2012 - 9:27am
A bipartisan Senate bill to bolster cybersecurity has sparked a competing proposal from Republicans wary of new regulations for businesses, a signal that burgeoning anti-government fervor has begun shaping national-security measures.
The White House-backed proposal would require companies that own computer networks integral to key critical infrastructure like electric-power systems and nuclear reactors to meet certain cybersecurity standards. Sponsors include the chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security panel, Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The Republican alternative, unveiled last week, omits provisions for critical infrastructure security and instead focuses on creating better mechanisms for the sharing of cyberthreat information between the government and industry. The bills' future will likely depend on whether the debate is seen as one primarily about national security or economic growth, congressional and industry officials say. Election-year politics could derail enactment of any cybersecurity measure, but lawmakers and industry officials increasingly say they believe Congress will pass a bill. The competing measures are expected to reach the Senate floor soon.
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