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Senate committee revises Internet security bill
WASHINGTON (IDG) -- The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is revising a bill that responds to a variety of concerns about Internet security and privacy, and the committee chairman plans to schedule a vote on it before the July 4 holiday recess, a committee lawyer said Tuesday.
The committee last week was to consider amendments to the Internet Integrity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, but the bill's sponsor, Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, decided to shelve it because of concerns raised by information technology industry officials and privacy advocates, said Manus Cooney, chief counsel for the committee.
The bill is designed to prevent hackers, spammers and other "bad actors" from abusing the Internet, while at the same time provide much needed resources and investigative tools to government agencies charged with protecting the country against Internet crime, Cooney said Tuesday at a cybersecurity seminar here sponsored by Washington law firm Wiley, Rein & Fielding.
The bill also updates computer abuse laws to provide tougher sentences for people who are convicted of intrusions into a computer network, especially if the act harms someone or causes a threat to public health and safety.
"The bill accomplishes these ends without undermining the growth of the Internet or lessening legitimate privacy interests," Cooney said. "The bill puts in place statutory rules, but leaves industry free to determine how best to comply. We believe the bill strikes the appropriate balance."
The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider the bill in executive session on Thursday, according to a schedule posted on the committee's Web site.
Cooney did not elaborate on the concerns raised by industry and privacy advocates. However, he said there is a high degree of interest among U.S. voters in legislation dealing with Internet privacy and security, and the continuation of discussions doesn't mean that Congress will fail to take action.
"You are likely to see more bills, not less, introduced on this... as the election approaches," he said.
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