30 Jun 2011

Langevin petitions for inclusion on cybersecurity task force

Senator Jim Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island, balking at the all-Republican membership of a new 12-person cybersecurity task force, has asked to be included, according to Politico.

Langevin told the news source the Republican leadership is inappropriately turning computer security into a partisan issue. Accordingly, he sent a letter to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner on June 15, offering his services on the task force. In the letter, Langevin pointed to his national security credentials, gained through work on Homeland Security and Armed Services subcommittees.

In response, Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel told Politico Democrats can contribute to the discussion of cybersecurity issues regardless of whether they are officially named to the task force. Ralph Hellmann, senior vice president of government relations at the Information Technology Industrial Council, reinforced this point, telling the media outlet Democrats can weigh in on legislation and propose amendments in committee.

While the House tussled over this issue, the Senate held hearings on three bills relating to internet security. On June 28, the Commerce Committee debated two bills related to consumer privacy and one bill regarding how quickly companies must inform customers about computer security breaches.