Washington Ponders Security, Again, but Its Motives Aren't Clear

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-09-30 Print this article Print
government cyber security

This is where the pending cyber-security bill comes into play. The new bill, if passed, allows information-sharing among and between federal entities, but it also allows sharing into the private sector. While it's clear that this would be helpful in fighting cyber-attacks, privacy advocates worry that too much sharing of private information would allow the government to dig too deeply into their personal lives.

It's worth noting that in the full text of the bill considerable effort seems to have been taken to include constitutional limits, but whether those limits in the text will be enough to satisfy most of the critics remains to be seen.

What this means, of course, is that the hearings will continue, but whether the result will be a workable cyber-security bill or a cyber-warfare policy from the White House remains to be seen. However, there are some indications on what to expect.

First, the White House isn't going to deliver a cyber-warfare policy. Congress, despite its histrionics, has no way to compel the administration to deliver one. The administration, which has already demonstrated that it willingly, if not gleefully, ignores Congress, will continue to do so.

It's also a safe bet that the Senate's cyber-security bill will never see the light of day, at least not outside the Senate chambers. Even if the bill makes it to the Senate floor, it needs 60 votes to pass it along to the House, and getting all of those votes to agree on a single bill seems unlikely. But even if the Senate does manage to craft a compromise bill that makes it through a floor vote, it still has to get through the House of Representatives.

Considering the dysfunction that's afflicting the Republican-controlled legislature these days, the passage of the bill without the help of the departing House speaker seems at least as unlikely as any other scenario.

What this means to you is that there will be a lot of attention paid to security, and lots of arm waving and shouting of promises, but no actual action. But then, if you'd wanted action, you'd have voted for a different Congress, right?


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