President Barack Obama penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal published online late Thursday calling on the Senate to pass a new cybersecurity bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Libereman (I-CT) called the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. The bill would provide legal immunity and a structure for private companies and U.S. intelligence agencies to share information about national cyber threats.
Obama begins by describing a hypothetical nightmare scenario in which a cyber attack on America's rail systems leads to a car carrying chemicals derailing and exploding. The scenario was actually simulated for an emergency response test, as Obama writes.
For the sake of our national and economic security, I urge the Senate to pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 and Congress to send me comprehensive legislation so I can sign it into law.
Republicans criticized the bill when it was introduced in February over provisions giving the Department of Homeland Security power to require utilities companies and other "critical infrastructure" providers to set up cybersecurity and threat information-sharing systems. Attempting a compromise, Lieberman introduced a revised version of the bill on Thursday.