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Cybersecurity Bill Fails Today In US Senate 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the still-a-bill-on-capitol-hill dept.
wiredmikey writes "A development following the recently posted story Senate Cybersecurity Bill Stalled By Ridiculous Amendments — The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 failed to advance in the US Senate on Thursday. The measure was blocked amid opposition from an unusual coalition of civil libertarians — who feared it could allow too much government snooping — and conservatives who said it would create a new bureaucracy. The bill needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to advance under rules in the chamber, but got only 52. The failure came despite pleas from Obama and top US defense officials. The US Chamber of Commerce argued that the bill 'could actually impede US cybersecurity by shifting businesses' resources away from implementing robust and effective security measures and toward meeting government mandates.'"
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Cybersecurity Bill Fails Today In US Senate

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  • by ganjadude (952775) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @02:54PM (#40860247) Homepage
    • by dwillden (521345)
      Well to be honest this thread still makes sense, as the prior post was about all the amendments. Whereas this one is about it dying.
    • by jhoegl (638955)
      Thanks, it was in the summary there genius.
      As for the bill itself, I dont know what it is supposed to do. Force companies to make sure their shit is secure?

      Businesses can only make it as secure as the latest vulnerability.
      • by ganjadude (952775)
        Actually it was not there when I made the post thank you very much
      • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @03:14PM (#40860597) Homepage Journal

        It does nothing to enforce real security. Instead, it enshrines another layer of surveillance and privacy-reduction in law - with an enforcement arm that will be rewarded by stopping "cyber-threats" like using a UK proxy to watch the Olympics online. Then, like under the DMCA you can be treated like a terrorist.

        https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/03/dangerously-vague-cybersecurity-legislation [eff.org]

        • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @04:58PM (#40861791) Journal

          Did you actually expect the government to improve security? These are the same people who keep telling us that the TSA makes us safer. For the most part, congresspeople don't even understand the most basic aspects of meatspace security. How could they possibly understand cybersecurity, which is orders of magnitude more complex? If you asked all of the U.S. Congress what a buffer overflow is, you would probably have fewer than twenty people who could answer the question, and I would not be entirely surprised if not a single one of them could answer it. And I can just about guarantee that none of them could construct even the most basic threat assessment for even the most simple network protocol.

          No, Congress will create an organization whose job it is to understand it, but they'll give it a mission statement that is entirely perpendicular to anything that would actually improve cybersecurity. Then, when things don't improve, they'll say that it needs more funding. All the while, they'll be siphoning off hundreds of millions of dollars to overpriced contractors in their districts so that when they leave the public sector, they'll have cushy consulting jobs waiting for them. Sadly, this is the way Congress usually does things. They don't take the time to understand the issues, and instead let a bunch of lobbyists write laws that almost invariably only serve to make the problem worse.

          For this reason, government is almost never the answer to this sort of thing. Industry standards bodies are. Until our congresspeople are clueful enough to understand that cybersecurity is fundamentally a problem caused by bugs in software, not a social problem caused by evil, malicious "hackers", they cannot possibly do anything but cause harm. Improving cybersecurity by trying to catch the hackers is like protecting a chicken coop by trying to catch all the wolves in the country. There will always be more wolves. What the coop needs is not traps, but rather walls and fences. Similarly, the only way government can usefully improve cybersecurity is by hiring computer security experts to serve as a cybersecurity swat team that does nothing but review code and software designs upon request from government agencies, private businesses, and open source projects. That level of scrutiny is useful. Anything else is a waste of time, money, and civil liberties, with no hope whatsoever of positively affecting our nation's cybersecurity.

          • Actually not only are their bugs in software which let hackers in, but have you heard of social engineering??? That is the social problem that lets hackers in, people trust them too much.

            As for this quote: "The US Chamber of Commerce argued that the bill 'could actually impede US cybersecurity by shifting businesses' resources away from implementing robust and effective security measures and toward meeting government mandates."

            Oh, is that why everyone is getting hacked, because they are putting resour
            • by dgatwood (11270)

              Actually not only are their bugs in software which let hackers in, but have you heard of social engineering??? That is the social problem that lets hackers in, people trust them too much.

              Social engineering is, indeed, a social problem, but it isn't specific to cybersecurity. You can do social engineering just as easily by postal mail as email, just as easily by telephone as by IM, etc. The only way to solve it is by convincing people that they need to think before they disclose information.

              More importantl

              • "government-paid security pros"

                ROTFL

                You have got to be kidding. Even if you get a real security pro to work for the government, in 10 years, he/she will be totally out of date and heading an evergrowing empire of unqualified idiots. These bureaucrats will secure their jobs by getting out of the consulting business entirely and writing regulations that they can enforce.

                Never start a new government program.

      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        As for the bill itself, I dont know what it is supposed to do. Force companies to make sure their shit is secure?

        The big problem was the ammendments. They had a little bit of everything in there cause it was the last bit of law they were gonna look at before their summer break. So they loaded it up with every pet project of 70 braindead idiots^F^Ffavored son Senators and were surprised when they only got 62 votes to pass this abortion.

  • I'm so very very very very sick of our govt doing their damnedest to turn us into a police state.

    This law like so many others is just a pathetic attempt to force ridiculous and unnecessary controls on us while giving the govt the ability to do anything they wish.

    I truly wish someone knew how to wake up the majority people who live in this country, because this sort of nonsense needs to come to an abrupt halt.

  • The measure was blocked amid opposition from an unusual coalition of civil libertarians â" who feared it could allow too much government snooping â" and conservatives who said it would create a new bureaucracy.

    This is not unusual. This is the new normal.

    Conservatives are currently the ONLY civil libertarians left in government, apart from a handful of Democrats that still respect civil liberties and are willing to break away from the mass of Democrats voting in lock-step.

    Even if some are doing it

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      If you think conservatives are civil libertarians then I have no idea what to say to you.

      Today's conservatives believe for absolute freedom of corporations that that's it. They have absolutely no care for any other freedoms save MAYBE the 2nd amendment. They don't care about any individuals rights... just whatever gets their corporate buddies a bit more money.

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        They care about more than just corporations. They also care about things like banning free speech to "fight terrorism" and banning abortions to "protect a right to life" while encouraging an increasing number of deaths at the hands of our police and military...

      • If you think conservatives are civil libertarians then I have no idea what to say to you.

        Today's conservatives believe for absolute freedom of corporations that that's it. They have absolutely no care for any other freedoms save MAYBE the 2nd amendment. They don't care about any individuals rights... just whatever gets their corporate buddies a bit more money.

        No; those are called Neo-Cons , and in no way does their liberal bullshit reflect upon those of us who truly fit the classic definition of a political conservative.

        Fuckers hi-jacked our label...

      • by readin (838620)

        Today's conservatives believe for absolute freedom of corporations that that's it.

        You're only slightly correct. There are some conservatives who act that way - and they tend to get the most funding and get elected. This is one of the reasons the tea-parties formed. The rank-and-file was sick and tired of sending politicians to Washington based on their promises to cut spending, only to have those politicians betray them.

        So what happened, the media made every effort to discredit the tea-partiers, calling them names and making unreasonable accusations of racism. Was this because the

        • by dryeo (100693)

          This is what is weird about American politics (disclaimer, I'm not American). You've managed to totally warp language.
          Conservative basically means someone who wants to go back to the old days. The old days varies but is usually some imaginary time when things were perfect for their kind of people.
          Progressive is the opposite, they want to go forward to some imaginary time where things are perfect for their type.
          Liberal means freedom so by definition liberals want freedom, so are the opposite of authoritarian

      • by khallow (566160)

        Today's conservatives believe for absolute freedom of corporations that that's it.

        Even if that were true, that's better than any other large bloc in Washington. For example, Obamacare didn't come about because someone cared about anyone's freedom.

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Conservatives are currently the ONLY civil libertarians left in government

      Conservatives? You need to get specific, as currently the Republican party lays claim to that term and they are ANYTHING but "civil libertarians."

      the mass of Democrats voting in lock-step.

      Hilarious. The diversity of opinions in the Democratic party is one of the reasons they've had a hard time pushing past Republican stonewalling. If you want lock-step voting, look at the Republican party.

      as long as it means less intrusive government

      Y

      • by readin (838620)

        Conservatives are currently the ONLY civil libertarians left in government

        Conservatives? You need to get specific, as currently the Republican party lays claim to that term and they are ANYTHING but "civil libertarians."

        Tea-party conservatives, specifically. There would be a lot more people saying they support the tea-parties if the media hadn't worked so hard to portray the tea-parties as things they are not (like racist).

        the mass of Democrats voting in lock-step.

        Hilarious. The diversity of opinions in the Democratic party is one of the reasons they've had a hard time pushing past Republican stonewalling. If you want lock-step voting, look at the Republican party.

        You've been watching too much liberal news, where Republican teamwork is always called "marching in lockstep" and Democratic teamwork is called "unity". It of course confuses you when you see Democratic teamwork called "marching in lockstep".

        as long as it means less intrusive government

        You will not see this from anyone currently in DC.

        Ron Paul was a Republican. Rand Paul, I'm not sure if he is

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @05:20PM (#40862015)

    The bill needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to advance under rules in the chamber, but got only 52.

    That is one of those technically true but exceptionally misleading statements.

    Senate bills normally only require a majority vote to pass. But what started in the 80s and has increased markedly since the last presidential election is the abuse of the filibuster. Nowadays a bill can pass in the senate with only a majority vote if the minority party - the GOP - supports it. But if the GOP leadership is opposed to it, they filibuster it such that 60 votes are required, which is generally impossible because of the intense partisanship. So despite the senate being slightly majority democrat, they only tend to pass things that are favored by the GOP.

    What's worse is that it doesn't take an actual filibuster, only the threat of one. And even when an actual filibuster is invoked, it doesn't require that the senators stand on the floor and engage in ongoing debate or speechifying like the way us non-politicians would expect.

    • by guises (2423402)
      Thank you, came here to say the same thing. There's no rule that says it takes 60 votes to pass the senate, that's a GOP invention.
      • by readin (838620)

        Thank you, came here to say the same thing. There's no rule that says it takes 60 votes to pass the senate, that's a GOP invention.

        It was the Democrats' invention.

        According to Wikipedia, "Finally, in 1975 the Democratic-controlled Senate[5] revised its cloture rule so that three-fifths of the senators sworn (usually 60 senators) could limit debate, except on votes to change Senate rules, which require two-thirds to invoke cloture." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster_in_the_United_States_Senate [wikipedia.org]

        • by guises (2423402)

          There's no rule that says it takes 60 votes to pass the senate, that's a GOP invention.

          It was the Democrats' invention. According to Wikipedia, "Finally, in 1975 the Democratic-controlled Senate[5] revised its cloture rule so that three-fifths of the senators sworn (usually 60 senators) could limit debate

          What a stupid... you're claiming that when the Senate in 1975 reduced the requirement for cloture from a 2/3 majority to a 3/5 majority that is what made the Senate today so incapable of accomplishing anything? Because if only more people were required for cloture then the GOP wouldn't have hatched on this idea to filibuster everything?

          • by readin (838620)
            I'm saying the 60 vote rule, the only rule in question, was invented by the Democrats. The use of filibuster has been increasing for a long time. I agree that it is overused. It ought to require more than a threat - the majority should have the guts to force the other party to stand up and talk. If they did that it would focus national attention on the subject and the party with the less popular view would be pressured to give in.

            But the current state is not the all the fault of the Republicans. Ye
    • by khallow (566160)

      But what started in the 80s

      The filibuster is far older than that and it used to be even harder to overturn than it is now. As to the mean old Republicans getting only what they want passed, same goes for the Democrats or any other voting bloc of large enough size. The Democrats can pull the very same trick, say for example, in 2013 when President Romney wants his laws passed.

      The point of the filibuster is to encourage deliberation and compromise, not expedite passage of law. Given what crap gets stymied these days, I really don't

      • by guises (2423402)
        You're correct in general of course, the trouble isn't the filibuster itself. That encourages compromise and helps to prevent absolute rule of the majority. The trouble is that it only works when you have a minority that's willing to compromise. That has been the case to a greater or lessor degree in every senate up until now, but the number of filibusters since Obama took office has been more than double that of any previous senate.

        An ideal solution wouldn't be to simply eliminate the filibuster but to r
        • by khallow (566160)
          I have to disagree. The unusually deceptive and pathological nature of the current administration and their congressional allies means that compromise is a bad idea. Obamacare is a classic example. Unconstitutional and it hurts health care reform. It's too bad that the Republicans couldn't block it permanently. And then there's the several hundred cases of accessory to murder from the Fast and Furious case.

          This sort of situation is exactly why filibustering is such a useful tool. And if Romney wins with
      • The filibuster is far older than that and it used to be even harder to overturn than it is now.

        I typoed out the URL to one of the hundreds of charts [grist.org] illustrating when abuse of the filibuster started.

        Given what crap gets stymied these days, I really don't see the point of getting rid of filibuster. It works as advertised.

        If only it were, for some reason the democrats don't seem to be using the same way as the GOP does. Maybe because if they did, basically nothing would ever pass.

        • by khallow (566160)

          I typoed out the URL to one of the hundreds of charts illustrating when abuse of the filibuster started.

          Huh, doesn't look like abuse to me. Looks like good strategy to prevent remarkably bad law.

          • Huh, doesn't look like abuse to me. Looks like good strategy to prevent remarkably bad law.

            By that logic, prior to the 80s, hardly any bad laws were ever considered.

            • by khallow (566160)

              By that logic, prior to the 80s, hardly any bad laws were ever considered.

              Well, that probably is true to a degree. The quality and constitutionality of law I think has gone down over the decades. It's too easy to bulk up bills in the age of the word processor. These become harder to vet as they grow longer. And a lot of constitutional challenges are rearing their ugly little heads right now.

              I think the US is at a decision point, whether to continue with a constitutional government and play by set rules or to follow some charismatic leader off a cliff. Fortunately, Obama turns

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