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Bennie T.
Democrat MS 2

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  • National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2014

    by Representative Bennie G. Thompson

    Posted on 2014-12-11

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    THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Senate amendment to S. 2519, the National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2014. This bipartisan measure is a product of extensive bicameral negotiations and, in many ways, the culmination of years of oversight work by this committee.

    It not only sends a strong message of support for the Department of Homeland Security as the lead civilian agency for cybersecurity, but also pays special attention to the challenge of bolstering network security for critical infrastructure.

    Over the past decade, Americans have come to understand the need for cybersecurity to be woven into everything that a company, government, or an individual does, from running the most intricate machinery to everyday participation in social media.

    Americans used to depend on the two oceans to protect us from invasion. Interconnectedness resulting from advancement in technology has fostered great economic, scientific, social, and cultural rewards. At the same time, their interconnectedness allows our enemies to do harm without ever stepping foot on U.S. soil.

    One of the strengths of S. 2519 is that it emphasizes voluntary information sharing and collaboration between the Department and critical infrastructure owners and operators to address this national threat. Importantly, it does so in a manner that is consistent with our constitutional values and principles.

    Much like the House-passed version of this measure, H.R. 3696, that was heralded by the ACLU as ``pro-security and pro-privacy,'' the measure under consideration today effectively avoids the privacy and civil liberties pitfalls that have plagued other cyber information- sharing legislation.

    S. 2519 leverages existing private-public partnerships such as information sharing and analysis centers and sector coordinating councils to foster better information sharing and does so without dangling the controversial liability protection ``carrot'' before companies. The opportunity to access timely threat information from a Federal civilian agency should be carrot enough to motivate companies to engage with DHS.

    The legislation before us today represents an important moment for the committee and the 113th Congress. At the beginning of this Congress, expectations were high for some legislative action in the area of cybersecurity. It has taken some time to get here, but what we have before us is something solid that sets forth what DHS must do as a lead civilian agency for cybersecurity.

    We have seen cybersecurity legislation fail to become law multiple times. While President Obama's executive order is making progress in attempts to shore up some cyber weaknesses in our Nation's fabric, more work needs to be done.

    With this cybersecurity legislation, we will be doing our part as DHS authorizers to raise the level of cybersecurity, particularly within the Federal Government and protecting our Nation's critical infrastructure.

    I reserve the balance of my time.

    Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Meehan).

    Let me also, on a point of privilege, say what an honor it has been to serve with you, sir. We are going to miss you on this committee.

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