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U.S. Senate Kills Cybersecurity Act (with High Cap Mag Ban Amendment)

News comes to us through Reddit and ZDNet that the Senate has voted against moving forward with the Cybersecurity Act, effectively killing it. For now. The final vote was 52 to 46 in favor of moving forward, but 60 votes were required. Voting was mostly along party lines. As a network security professional, I’m always happy to see any half-assed, misguided attempt by the government to try and regulate the Internet fail miserably. The fact that it also killed the high capacity magazine ban that the Democrats tacked onto it is just icing on the cake.


  1. avatar Ross says:


  2. avatar AznMike says:

    Nice, time to break out the bubbly.

  3. avatar Scott says:

    From what I’ve read, all the actual security written into the bill was already weeded out and neither party really liked it. So Sen. Lautenberg tacked on the mag ban knowing full well the bill wouldn’t move forward anyway. He get’s to look like he tried to do something in response to Aurora without actually doing anything. Now, if the internet somehow breaks, everyone can blame the NRA.

  4. avatar Aharon says:

    What was Lautenberg thinking? Did he already know the cyberspace bill would fail ‘before’ he tagged on the high capacity mag ban? Was he just being driven by his emotions and naivety? How did tagging on the high cap mag rider change the votes?

  5. avatar Aragorn says:

    Your headline should have read,

    “In a Rare Display of Common Sense the US Senate…… did the right thing.”

  6. avatar Jake in AK says:

    Huh. One of my Senators voted to kill it, and one to pass.
    How did yours do?
    Link is vote record

    1. avatar BeninMA says:

      Scott Brown voted for it — surprising since he’s been strongly against any new Federal gun control (he’s called it a states’ rights issue).

    2. avatar Kirk says:

      Yeah I’m really bummed out that my old High School buddy didn’t have the good sense to vote against that, he’s smarter then that. I guess that getting re-elected isn’t that important

    3. avatar Fyrewerx says:

      The Democrat voted for it, and the Republican didn’t vote — too busy, out stumping for Romney.

  7. avatar BeninMA says:

    Nice. But with the gun control addendum, I didn’t expect it to do that well (closer to 35 votes was my guess). At least this gets Senators on record.

  8. avatar Jake_in_ak says:

    Huh. One of my Senators voted to kill it, and one to pass.
    How did yours do?
    Link is vote record

  9. avatar Michael B. says:

    Rubio wasn’t there to vote. Nelson, of course, voted for it. A-hole.

    1. avatar Jeremy L. Knauff says:

      I talked to Rubio’s office several times about this issue. He was going to vote against it but was in Orlando today.

  10. avatar Silver says:

    Whenever I see something like this, it’s incredibly bittersweet. I can’t simply think “the right thing was done” or “we won.”

    What I see is that 46 members of the US Senate, nearly half, voted to trample peoples’ Constitutional rights and enact the iron first of oppression upon citizens. It’s like the Heller case…the verdict may have been in our favor, but nearly half of the people sworn to uphold the Constitution voted to destroy it. And that is wholly, utterly, unacceptable.

    The Senate did not do the right thing. 52 Senators did. The rest are tyrants.

    1. avatar BeninMA says:

      If you want to really cry, consider that only seven voted against the NDAA. Your guns are a lot safer than your right to a trial.

    2. avatar napoleon says:

      Split the votes right down the middle and nothing ever gets done. Congress is one place where I count on ineffective government to do the right thing…which is nothing.

    3. avatar Silver says:

      I also realized I got the numbers backwards…whoops. That makes my point even worse. The MAJORITY of the Senate voted to pass this monstrosity.

  11. avatar Sanchanim says:

    It seems no one in the hill wants to use the words gun when it comes time to vote for anything, except those safely blue states. The Republicans for the most part felt “the bill would have led to mandatory regulations imposed by Washington that would only increase the private sector’s costs without substantially reducing the risks”.

    Really? So the fact that Sen. Lautenberg refused to pull a completely unrelated piece of legislation from the bill had nothing to do with it? Not complaining that it died, but while I feel that cybersecurity is important, I also fully agree that if it were to have passed with the high capacity magazine piece stuck to it, there would have been outrage for any republican who voted for it. The answer given by the republicans seems to have been carefully worded. Sure it is normal for them to strike down bills which don’t show fiscal conservatism. That is a normal a partisan issue in the government, but why not call out the fact that there was a piece of junk stuck to it which had absolutely nothing to do with cybersecurity at all? Folks like to call those earmarks and to be honest it really shouldn’t be attached to anything. It was an attempt by the democrats to arm twist the republicans into signing off on it as some did.

    My take on the situation is no one wants to say anything about simply standing up for our second amendment rights. They certainly want to protect senators who happen to reside in swing states where standing up for a hot button issue probably would jeopardize their reelection. This would give ample fodder for opponents to use against their rivals for months. While it is understandable and we can call this a small win for law abiding gun owners, it is sad that folks can’t speak for themselves in politics anymore. They have to figure out some politically correct worded answer to spew to the media. So for now your normal capacity magazines are safe, carry on!

    I have not read much on the bill itself, and controlling the internet is something overall that shouldn’t be done, however there is referencing the need to secure gas lines, water and other facilities. After the release of stuxnet we know that for the first time, the cyber world was used in a specific manner to control real world objects. In this case it was the uranium centrifuges, but this could be applied to anything. I am sure on a limited scope some of the bills provions which might have been related to that specific area could have been sorted out. I am sure Nick would also agree that it is important.

    This is a critical point. Politicians who have no idea what the hell technology is, or can’t get their facts straight about guns should not be voting on it at all.
    Sorry to get off gun topic but figured I would put that in as well.

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      Critical infrastructure is extremely important to protect, but its not something that a legislative body can do effectively. PCI is the gold standard of a compliance scheme gone horribly wrong, where companies only meet the bare minimum to pass and that is FAR from being enough to be secure in today’s world.

      Perfect case: There’s a customer of ours that has an IDS because they needed one for compliance. I see alerts for it every single day, ranging from SSH brute force attacks to SQL injection. I let them know every single time, and yet they do absolutely nothing about it. And then they’re surprised when we discover that their data has been stolen. Again.

      You can’t legislate security. Its a moving target that congress is too slow to hit, and too dumb to understand.

      1. avatar Sanchanim says:

        I guess you can’t fix stupid huh!
        We are going through a security audit right now as a mater of fact. But once we get through it, all recommendations will be put into action plans and budgeted.
        If you are dealing with foreign governments trying to hack you then you can really only hope for the best, as they can pull encryption key strings and more.
        Script kittys are the easiest to defend against.
        Just like politicians calling for more gun control because it is convenient, the folks trying to setup security policy have no clue of what it really is.

  12. avatar cmd says:

    Do, do, da dodo. Mana mana!

  13. avatar mdc says:

    I got news for you.Scott Brown is bought and paid for.A CFR Tool.He might look good in underwear,but he is a sellout.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Sellout? I think you misspelled “douchebag.”

      FYI, I despise the pr!ck but I despise Elizabeth Warren even more.

  14. avatar Josh says:


  15. avatar Human Being says:

    You ride in an ambulance with a nifty watch, carry a rifle, AND perform network security…

    Sooooo, you’re a medical cyborg-technician for Trauma Team International??

    1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

      +1 for the Cyberpunk reference.

  16. avatar Alex J says:

    So basically, that means that they are scheming up a new way to insert the same magazine ban (or nearly so) into a different piece of legislation. If Democrats were smart, they’d slip it into some military funding bill which you know many (or most) Republicans wouldn’t want to pass up in their usual drunken sailor spending spree. Perhaps it is not wise to give them such ideas, though it’s not like they don’t know every sleazy trick in the book already)

  17. avatar MotoJB says:

    Good, more non-sense avoided…

  18. avatar jbarr says:

    I just love how our President finds it so easy to lie.

    He said, “…an overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans blocked consideration of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012…”

    Run the numbers of who voted, and you find that 5 Republicans and 45 Democrats voted YES. Conversely, 6 Democrats and 42 Republicans voted NO.

    That means that 14% of those voting against are Democrats. and 11% voting for were Republican. More Democrats voted against than Republicans voted for. Sounds to me like this president can’t even influence his own party.

    Yes, you have to account the 60% vote required, the Independents’ votes, and the two Republican Senators who didn’t vote, but come on. Why is he allowed to get away with lies?

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