Revised US cyber-security bill cuts president’s powers


Revised US cyber-security bill cuts president’s powers

Warwick Ashford

The latest version of the US Cybersecurity Act, S. 773, does not give the president the unilateral power to disconnect networks from the internet in a major cyber-attack as a previous version did.

The Act, first introduced by the Senate in April 2009, is aimed at protecting critical US infrastructure against cyber-attacks through collaboration between the federal government and the private sector.

The revised bill requires the president to work with private organisations that run or own critical network infrastructure to come up with plans to respond to cyber-attacks, according to US reports.

The bill adds a process for the president and these organisations to decide jointly on which IT systems are most crucial to US national security and how they should be protected.

The revised bill also requires the president to give security clearances to some officials at those organisations to access classified information on cyber-threats.

Increased co-operation was a key theme of presentations by both US secretary of homeland security Janet Napolitano and White House cyber security co-ordinator Howard Schmidt at the RSA Conference 2010 in San Francisco.

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