Lawmakers are crafting legislation that would broaden the government's authority over cybersecurity standards in the private industry, the Washington Post reports.
The proposals call for regulation of military and private networks, and would create the Office of the National Cybersecurity Adviser, whose leader would report directly to the president.
If the legislation passes, it would be the first time that government would have the power to set and enforce security standards for the private industry.
The cybersecurity head would have unprecedented authority to shut down computer networks, including private ones, if a cyberattack is underway, a congressional official told the Post.
The legislation, co-sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, was drafted with White House input.
"People say this is a military or intelligence concern, but it's a lot more than that," Rockefeller, a former intelligence committee chairman said. "It suddenly gets into the realm of traffic lights and rail networks and water and electricity."
Currently, the Pentagon and the National Security Agency safeguard military networks, while the Department of Homeland Security provides assistance to private networks.
But the legislation would require the establishment of "measurable and auditable cybersecurity standards" that would apply to private companies as well as the government.
It also would require licensing and certification of cybersecurity professionals.
Source: The Washington Post