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Lieberman Bill Gives Feds ‘Emergency’ Powers to Secure Civilian Nets

Joe Lieberman wants to give the federal government the power to take over civilian networks’ security, if there’s an “imminent cyber threat.” It’s part of a draft bill, co-sponsored by Senators Lieberman and Susan Collins, that provides the Department of Homeland Security broad authority to ensure that “critical infrastructure” stays up and running in the face of a looming hack attack.
The government’s role in protecting private firms’ networks is one of the most contentious topics in information security today. Several bills are circulating on Capitol Hill on how to keep power and transportation and financial firms running in the event of a so-called “cybersecurity emergency.”
Last week, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn floated the idea of extending a controversial cybersurveillance program to hacker-proof the firms.

Lieberman and Collins’ solution is one of the more far-reaching proposals. In the Senators’ draft bill, “the President may issue a declaration of an imminent cyber threat to covered critical infrastructure.” Once such a declaration is made, the director of a DHS National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications is supposed to “develop and coordinate emergency measures or actions necessary to preserve the reliable operation, and mitigate or remediate the consequences of the potential disruption, of covered critical infrastructure.”


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