recommended reading

Rockefeller seeks to reassure on cybersecurity bill

Senate Commerce Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Thursday attempted to assuage industry concerns over the scope of his panel's cybersecurity bill, saying the legislation does not seek to give the government new emergency powers or the authority to dictate business operations.

"Let me be very clear: When it comes to cybersecurity, the familiar 'regulation versus leave-it-to-the-market' debate that always dominates discussions between the government and the private sector is a dangerous false choice," Rockefeller said in his written remarks at the Business Software Alliance's 2010 Cybersecurity Forum.

"The government cannot do this on its own, and neither can the private sector. This has been demonstrated and proven."

Rockefeller defended the bill he wrote with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, as striking a balance between government and business interests. The bill was introduced last year but an updated, reworked version was released and approved by his committee in March.

"We have worked closely with you and other stakeholders to refine the language," Rockefeller told industry officials. "In case there is any remaining confusion, let me be clear: This bill does not create any new emergency powers for the president or anyone else in government. It simply requires all key players to get together ahead of a crisis and prepare."

He noted that the bill seeks to give companies incentives to adopt good cybersecurity practices. The government could compel companies that fail to do so to adopt remediation plans.

"I know some groups have had concerns about these proposals. But here's the truth: the government will not be choosing winners and losers, nor will it be laying down arbitrary standards from on high," Rockefeller said.

The Business Software Alliance, Information Technology Industry Council and TechAmerica have raised concerns about some provisions included in the legislation, such as requiring companies to comply with cybersecurity practices identified by the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Rockefeller noted that some business groups also have criticized language in the bill that would require an audit of a company's security plan.

"I think we can all agree that effective cybersecurity simply is not possible without a reliable mechanism to evaluate performance. We have yet to be presented with a viable alternative," he said. "So, we have built on the audit-based framework already used by many in the private sector. We expect that if the private sector takes the lead as laid out in our bill, the standards and certification will be flexible and dynamic, not bureaucratic and burdensome."

He encouraged industry to continue giving lawmakers their best ideas as the bill works its way through other committees and to the Senate floor.

Threatwatch Alert

Social Media Takeover

Qatar News Agency Says Hackers Published Fake Stories

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.