Thursday, March 25, 2010

US Senate panel clears plan for tighter cybersecurity

US Senate panel clears plan for tighter cybersecurity; AFP

A US Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill to try to tighten cybersecurity to better protect US government agencies and businesses from Internet threats.

The text was unanimously approved and now moves to a full Senate vote.

"The status quo is not sustainable. We need a new model for the 21st century. We must secure America?s critical networks, innovation and competitiveness in the global market," committee chair and cosponsor John Rockefeller said in a statement.

The Cybersecurity Act is a new draft of a bill introduced last year and was revised to take into account the views of more cybersecurity experts in the private sector, government and civil liberties community.

The bill would not allow the president to shut down the Internet unilaterally -- a revision to address critics of the prior bill who claimed it would provide that authority.

The proposal would require collaboration with the private sector in responding to a "cybersecurity emergency."

A "cybersecurity emergency" is defined as "a cyber event that is equivalent to an act of war, a terrorist attack, or a major natural disaster."

Another new provision in the bill would allow the president to provide security clearances to private sector officials to allow for the sharing of classified information.

Comment: On other forums I participate I have received some fairly vital attacks because I oppose this bill and see this as a means to limit speech. I have been labeled a hard-liner, to put it mildly. However, I say if it wasn't for the Internet I would be extremely limited in my ability to discuss the matter of repealing the 17th Amendment. Without the Internet we would be extremely restricted concerning the news information we now know about the daily activities of the US Senate and the senators. I could on for hours writing about what our communicative life would be like if there wasn't an Internet. But the question put before us is, is the US Senate, Congress and the President's effort to create a Cybersecurity Act meant to help protect the Internet or restrict and control it?

I would like to be obtimistic, but modern history is replete with example of the latter. And likewise, any time government involves itself in matters best suited for the private sector it ends up ruining it, maybe not at first, but in short order it does.

I say we need no such a law. I say let the US Government spend whatever it needs to protect the government infrastructure and leave the rest for private enterprise and the free market to figure out.

We all know if given the choice between a private business paying for something or the government, business will let the taxpayer pick up the bill. But we also know when there is a dollar riding on the line and business has the choice to decide the best course of action or allow for the government to, business will always want to make the choice. So I say let them. Let US businesses protect their interests on their own. Because when they do there certainly will be a better product on the market than anything that US Government will produce.

No law or President is going to protect us as well as those that have a vested interest in protecting their profit. Let the market protect us.

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