A leaked draft of the forthcoming US cybersecurity bill has revealed a clause allowing a government takeover of private and corporate networks “in the event of an immediate threat to strategic national interests.”The bill would also require companies to set up a national disaster recovery plan and keep it updated, codify federal certification of cybersecurity officials, enforce regular network scanning, and produce an annual report on progress.The document reportedly comes from the office of Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, who introduced the cybersecurity bill in April.“As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know the threats we face,” said Senator Rockefeller.“Our enemies are real, they are sophisticated, they are determined and they will not rest. I believe Congress must bring new high-level governmental attention to develop a fully integrated, thoroughly coordinated, public-private partnership to our cybersecurity efforts in the 21st century.”The news has brought political attacks, with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a right-wing US think tank warning against “the constant temptation by politicians in both parties to expand Government authority over ‘critical’ private networks”.“From American telecommunications to the power grid, virtually anything networked to some other computer is potentially fair game to Obama to exercise ‘emergency powers',” institute director of technology studies Wayne Crews said. “Policy makers should be suspicious of proposals to collectivise and centralise cybersecurity risk management. The result is that we become less secure, not more secure.”
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