It’s a bit of a rarity these days when Congress is able to compromise on legislation. However, on July 28 the House passed H.R. 3693, a bill known as the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2014. Passed by a voice vote, the measure now goes to the Senate for action. They also passed H.R. 3107 which dealt with DHS cyber security workforce needs and H.R. 2952 which assigns the DHS with the responsibility to develop a cyber security R&D plan.
Action on these measures had been stalled due to concern over privacy issues, but eventually compromise was reached that resulted in bipartisan support AND the support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Speaking on the House floor, House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, noted that the bill struck a fine balance between privacy and security that everyone could support.
With the escalation of cyber crime, terrorism and online espionage, it was a must that some legislative compromise be reached in Washington to seek a partial remedy to the worsening situation. As passed, the bill codifies and charges DHS with sharing real-time cyber information, and encourages the partnership and sharing of information between business, industry and government agencies, especially with regard to incident response.
Every journey begins with a first step, and it’s encouraging that Washington has begun the trip that leads to increased cyber security. Let’s hope that the Senate will also act in a bipartisan manner and quickly adopt the measures passed in the House.