White House Releases Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal

This morning the White House released a legislative proposal aimed at improving cybersecurity for the American people, the Nation’s critical infrastructure and the Federal Government’s own networks and computers.

According to the White House, the administration’s proposal wants to ensure the protection of individuals’ privacy and civil liberties through a framework designed expressly to address the challenges of cybersecurity.

“Our Nation is at risk,” the release says. “The cybersecurity vulnerabilities in our government and critical infrastructure are a risk to national security, public safety, and economic prosperity. The Administration has responded to Congress’ call for input on the cybersecurity legislation that our Nation needs, and we look forward to engaging with Congress as they move forward on this issue.”

The legislative proposal lays out the following plans:

  • It requires DHS to implement its cybersecurity program in accordance with privacy and civil liberties procedures. These must be developed in consultation with privacy and civil liberties experts and approved by the Attorney General.
  • All federal agencies who would obtain information under this proposal will follow privacy and civil liberties procedures, again developed in consultation with privacy and civil liberties experts and with the approval of the Attorney General.
  • All monitoring, collection, use, retention, and sharing of information are limited to protecting against cybersecurity threats. Information may be used or disclosed for criminal law enforcement, but the Attorney General must first review and approve each such usage.
  • When a private-sector business, state, or local government wants to share information with DHS, it must first make reasonable efforts to remove identifying information unrelated to cybersecurity threats.
  • The proposal also mandates the development of layered oversight programs and congressional reporting.
  • Immunity for the private-sector business, state, or local government is conditioned on its compliance with the requirements of the proposal.

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