October 28, 2015

Heinrich, Udall split on cybersecurity bill

Capitol Hill Building, Washington DC

The U.S. Senate passed a bill designed to increase cybersecurity, but the two Senators from New Mexico couldn’t agree on how to vote.

Capitol Hill Building, Washington DC

Capitol Hill Building, Washington DC

Sen. Martin Heinrich voted for the legislation, while Udall voted against it. Both are Democrats.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed on Tuesday on a 74-21 vote. A similar, but identical, bill passed the House. Identical versions must pass both chambers before the president can sign it.

Udall opposed the legislation, citing privacy concerns.

“It’s imperative that we take strong steps to protect against hacks,” Udall said in a statement following the vote. “But this bill is not the right approach, and I strongly believe there are better ways to fight cyber criminals while also protecting Americans’ privacy.”

Udall went on to say that the bill would not do much to strengthen cybersecurity but would “it substantially weakens Americans’ privacy protections.”

Heinrich, on the other hand, cited one of his amendments included in the final bill that would limit how long the Attorney General could keep information as well as outline othe things the Attorney General would be allowed to do.

“The future of warfare is moving further away from the battlefield and closer to the devices and the networks everyday citizens depend on,” Heinrich said. “We can all agree that we must do more to prepare and protect ourselves from malicious cyber actors.”

Heinrich said the legislation was “the result of pragmatism and compromise.”

Scientific American reported that the passage of the legislation was aided by recent high profile breaches of security, both privately and publicly.

The most high profile was the hack and release of documents of Sony Pictures, allegedly over the release of a movie lampooning North Korea and depicting the assassination of the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un. Another, likely more serious, breach was of the Office of Personnel Management where data on millions of applicants to federal positions was stolen.