Cyber security bill dead in the US

2012-11-15 11:01
A US cyber security bill, opposed by business and privacy groups, has been declared dead after it failed a test vote for the second time. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

A US cyber security bill, opposed by business and privacy groups, has been declared dead after it failed a test vote for the second time. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Washington - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared a US cyber security bill, opposed by business and privacy groups, dead on Wednesday after it failed a test vote for the second time.

The bill would have increased information-sharing between intelligence agencies and private companies. It also would have set voluntary standards for businesses that control electric grids or water treatment plants.

Business groups opposed the bill as overregulation and privacy groups worried it might open the door to internet eavesdropping.

"Everyone should understand cyber security is dead for this Congress," said Reid, a Democrat. "Whatever we do on this bill, it's not enough for the Chamber of Commerce," he added.

Reid invited US President Barack Obama to issue an executive order "to fully protect our nation from the cyber security threat".

The measure fell nine votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate on the bill and open the way to a final vote.

A trade group, the Software Alliance, said Congress should give top priority next year to bolstering security.

Backers had hoped to move the bill during the post-election session. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said recently that attacks on US financial institutions and stock exchanges showed the need for more cyber safeguards.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said in October that unnamed foreign elements had been targeting computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants and those that guide transportation.

Senator Susan Collins, the senior Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the risk from a cyber attack was huge.

"In all my years on the Homeland Security Committee, I cannot think of another issue where the vulnerability is greater and we've done less," Collins said.

Read more on:    internet  |  cybercrime
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