Bumper crop: Cyber security legislation
Bumper crop: Cyber security legislation

A slew of new bills affecting cyber security policies are making their way through Congress. Stephen Lawton takes a look.

In a display of bipartisanship, party leaders said they would work with the White House to pass cyber security legislation during the 2012 presidential election year. While a number of bills are stalled in Congress, cyber security legislation seems to be garnering widespread support.

Although measures around data security often meet their demise on Capitol Hill due to disputes over wording or because other issues take priority, two bills – one in the House and the other in the Senate – appear to have a decent chance of passage.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 3523), introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., recently passed through the House Intelligence Committee on a 17-1 vote and is now headed to the House floor.

Meanwhile, two Senate bills also are working their way through the upper house, and have bipartisan support. One of the bills, the Cyber Security and Internet Freedom Act of 2011 (S.413), is similar in nature to the recommendations of the House Republican Cyber Security Task Force, Senate Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says.

Those recommendations have received bipartisan support, not only from Reid, but also Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., who tried to get cyber security language through in 2010 as part of the National Defense Authorization Bill. The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Tom Carper, D-Del., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and establishes an Office of Cyber Space Policy within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as an infrastructure for fighting threats.