New Cyber Bill Would Create National Office for Cybersecurity, Give DHS Authority for Protection of Critical Infrastructure

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Bipartisan legislation to create a National Office for Cyberspace in the White House was introduced in the House of Representatives today by Rep. James Langevin (D-RI). The bill is co- sponsored by Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), C.A. Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA). Additionally, the legislation would also require agencies to undertake automated and continuous monitoring of their systems to ensure compliance and identify deficiencies and potential risks caused by cyber incidents or threats to an agency's information technology assets. The bill also looks to grant the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to protect critical infrastructure, calling on the Secretary of DHS to coordinate the protection of critical infrastructure. This bill would clarify this authority to include the creation, verification and enforcement of measures with respect to the protection of the information systems that control critical infrastructure. However, it does not give DHS control over private systems rather it but allows the agency to establish risk-informed security practices and standards for critical infrastructure. The Secretary of DHS would determine what critical infrastructure should fall under cyber regulation and receive new protections developed between industry and government, recognizing that not every part of our critical infrastructure is as vulnerable to cyber threats as is the power grid. Further, it would aim to strengthen public-private partnerships for critical infrastructure by requiring the DHS to coordinate between the other agencies, in consultation with the appropriate private sector entities and operators that are also affected. The legislation is similar to the Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act of 2011, a bill introduced in February by the leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.




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