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Bill Would Give Feds 'Emergency' Powers to Secure Civilian Nets


Sen. Joseph Lieberman (CT) wants to give the U.S. 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 (R.-ME), that provides the U.S. 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."

In the Senators' draft bill, "the President may issue a declaration of an imminent cyber threat to covered critical infrastructure." The emergency measures are supposed to remain in place for no more than 30 days. But they can be extended indefinitely, a month at a time. Senate staffers familiar with the bill acknowledge that it grants broad powers over private businesses.

From Wired
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