Congress is currently considering several cybersecurity bills. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the House in April, and two Senate bills are being developed: the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, authored by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I–CT) and Susan Collins (R–ME), and the Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information, and Technology Act of 2012 (SECURE IT), authored by Senator John McCain (R–AZ).
Estimates of losses from cyber theft vary widely and may be as high as $400 billion in the West annually. The specter of a crippling attack on critical industries, such as the electrical grid or the financial system, looms in the minds of many. Congress should not act before it considers the consequences of each bill. Within the bills are competing views on how to solve the nation’s cybersecurity problems, and each deserves closer inspection.