Despite fading prospects for enacting any significant cybersecurity legislation, two Senate committees took steps to help the private sector fight cyber threats.
On June 25, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved two bills by voice vote to codify the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) and to update the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Both bills are waiting to be considered by the full Senate.
The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center Act of 2014 (S. 2519) would codify the existing cybersecurity and communications operations center at the NCCIC. The bill calls on the center to serve as a federal civilian information sharing interface for cybersecurity. It also authorizes the center’s current activities to work with the private sector to disseminate threat information and to provide greater understanding and awareness of cybersecurity and communications vulnerabilities, intrusions, incidents, mitigation, and recovery actions.
The Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (S. 2521) would “free federal agencies from some dated and burdensome paperwork requirements while putting into place a more efficient and effective process for monitoring and addressing threats to federal networks in real time,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
According to a committee press release, the legislation would better delineate the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security, move the agencies away from paper-based processes toward automated security, and put greater management and oversight attention on data breaches.
Also in late June, the Senate Intelligence Committee had scheduled, then postponed, plans to consider draft legislation that would provide liability protection to companies that share cyberthreat data. The legislation, developed by Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), is similar to a version that passed the House in April 2013 (H.R. 624) and which the President threatened to veto. The committee is expected to reschedule consideration of the draft bill in mid July.