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U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., on Wednesday introduced legislation to establish auditable, enforceable cybersecurity standards for both the government and the private sector.
The bill would create a national cybersecurity officer within the executive office of the president. That person would be responsible for a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy, coordinating government and private companies' activities if the bill were to become law.
Cybersecurity is a top priority for Rockefeller, who formerly was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Rockefeller now will use his Commerce Committee gavel to shine a light on the cyber threats faced by the country, particularly in the private sector.
The U.S. has some mechanisms in place to protect its sensitive government secrets from cyber espionage. But Rockefeller believes cyber attacks on the private sector - banking, utilities, air/rail/auto traffic control, and telecommunications - could shut down Americans' way of life.
Rockefeller's bill would create a public-private clearinghouse for cyber threat and vulnerability information sharing.
the legislation also calls for the appointment of a White House cybersecurity "czar" with unprecedented authority to shut down computer networks, including private ones, if a cyberattack is underway, the officials said.
For small and medium-sized businesses, the bill would create state and regional cybersecurity centers
On his first full-day as US President, Barack Obama on Wednesday outlined plans to declare the country's computer infrastructure a national asset that will be protected by a cyber advisor who will report directly to the president.