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Senate Panel Examines Cybersecurity

White House cybersecurity proposal discussed

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Washington, DC
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Senate Judiciary Committee continued its look at efforts to protect computer and information security. Committee members heard from government officials on the need for cybersecurity enhancements and the White House's proposal to federalize criminal and civil cybersecurity laws.  Associate Deputy Attorney General James Baker and Pablo Martinez with the U.S. Secret Service testified.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration released comprehensive legislation on cybersecurity, two years after it produced the Cyberspace Policy Review, a report outlining security needs.  

Top Republican on the Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley (IA), said he supports many of the administration's proposals but is worried about "implementation" and "cost."

Meanwhile, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI) said he is concerned about the lack of resources given to fight domestic and international cybercrime. "The rhinoceros in the living room is the resource question," Whitehouse said.

Senator Leahy has introduced his own legislation each Congress since 2005, which would address some cybersecurity issues.   It would create a national standard for breaches of private data and it would mandate private companies that collect sensitive information and create safeguards for securing personal data.

In a statement, Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said, “The many recent and troubling data breaches in the private sector and in our government are clear evidence that developing a comprehensive national strategy to protect data privacy and security is one of the most challenging and important issues facing our country.”

The administration’s cybersecurity legislative proposal includes Senator Leahy’s ideas, but it goes further and addresses cybersecurity of infrastructure and focuses on protecting government computer networks.

Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 12:08pm (ET)

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