Senator Feinstein Pushes for Final Passage of Cyber-Security Bill

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-11-11 Print this article Print
Cybersecurity Act

She also noted that CISA requires the assembly of a secure data portal run by the Department of Homeland Security that is supposed to ensure that personally identifiable information doesn't pass through to government agencies or corporations.

The portal, she said, would support a common set of procedures for sharing information with private companies and for sharing within the government. Threat data would be shared under the safeguards that were put in place under the bill, she observed.

Feinstein talked about the next steps to be considered, noting that the Internet was designed without security in mind. She said that what is really needed is a new version of the Internet that is designed to provide a higher level of security.

Feinstein said she didn't think it was possible for the current version of the Internet and a new, more secure version to exist simultaneously. She speculated that if a new version of the Internet were to be introduced, there would have to be a total cut-over, from one version to the other.

On the issue of global cyber-security, the senator said what is lacking so far is agreement on international norms for security and for how nations respect the data systems of other nations. She said this is the only way to get China, North Korea and other nations to stop raiding U.S. companies for information.

So I asked the Senator what she was planning in terms of legislation to enable this agreement on international norms. She turned the question around, and asked me what I thought. First I tried to explain that I couldn't. "I'm a journalist," I explained. "It's my job to pass the buck to the legislators."

Senator Feinstein was having none of that. "Oh, come on," she said staring at me, "you need to answer my question."

So I explained that right now, the U.S. is spying on foreign countries as much as they are spying on us. "We're effectively establishing international norms right now," I said. "We're setting the example for the Chinese and others. Shouldn't there be some legislation that controls how we act in relation to other countries as a way to raise those international norms?"

"I hadn't thought of that," Feinstein said, looking at me again, "I'll take a look at that."

Does that mean I just initiated a new round of cyber-security laws? Probably not. Congress isn't known for adopting the ideas of journalists or other outsiders.

But I think that if we expect other nations to respect our cyber-security, we have to do the same thing. The world is too small to think that only the U.S. can spy on nations, but that others can't spy on the U.S.. But what do I know? I'm just a journalist.


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