Cybersecurity has become somewhat of a buzzword in Washington over the last year. Various government agencies and lawmakers from both sides have made it clear that something needs to be done about cybersecurity. Their efforts resulted in CISPA and CSA - two equally reviled bills that sacrificed privacy in favor of more government regulation of private communications.
CISPA passed in the House, but the Senate's rejection of CSA made it hard to move forward. The bill's sponsor, Majority Leader Harry Reid, tried to push CSA through one more time, but the senate rejected his motion for cloture earlier this week.
So what does this mean? The US won't have a cybersecurity bill before the end of the year. It was a long shot already, but this just cements it. There might be efforts to revive CISPA or CSA next year, but the public's resistance to these bills might force lawmakers to write entirely new bills to address cybersecurity concerns.
In the meantime, there'e are rumors that President Obama will be signing off on an executive order that would implement much of CSA. Bloomberg reports that the executive order would seek to protect vital computer networks from cyber attacks. It's unknown if the executive order contains any of the privacy concerns that were found in both CSA and CISPA.
The chances of an executive order are pretty high at this point. Cybersecurity is a major concern of the military, and Obama has already taken action in the form of a secret directive. The Washington Post reports that Obama has already signed a directive allowing the military to be more aggressive in preventing cyber attacks on government and private networks.
The directive doesn't have quite the power of an executive order, but it should be a sign of things to come. The White House has already been targeted by hackers earlier this year, and Obama obviously wants to avoid any more scenarios like that. Giving the military more freedom in directing its own cybersecurity campaigns is just one part of whatever form the executive order takes.