Banks, telecommunications firms and energy companies, which have been targeted for attacks, are pushing for better sharing of threat and attack details from the government. They also want to be protected from privacy lawsuits if they share information on customers, and from negligence suits for failing to act on warnings.
The National Retail Federation lobbied the Senate on its Cybersecurity Act of 2012, as did 3M, which also discussed the bill with Homeland Security and the Justice Department, according to Senate filings.
The Association of American Railroads lobbied on Rogers’ Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which passed a floor vote in the House last year and has been reintroduced this session, records show. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, meanwhile, lobbied on bills in Congress while also discussing the formation of the White House cyber executive order with DHS, the group’s filings said.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), in September asked all Fortune 500 chief executives about their companies’ cybersecurity practices and their views on the federal government’s role in improving computer defenses.
That made companies realize cybersecurity would gain a higher profile in Washington, said Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, a partner at Monument Policy Group, a lobbying firm representing Boeing, Microsoft and LinkedIn.
“Companies are realizing that it’s important to engage with Congress and with the administration to ensure they have input on the development of laws, rules and regulations that affect them,’’ said Herrera-Flanigan, a former staff director for the House Homeland Security Committee.
Among those registered to lobby on the issue for Ericsson are Rhod Shaw, former chief of staff to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
Lobbyists for Google’s Motorola Mobility unit include Elizabeth Frazee, former counsel for Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) who became chairman of the House Judiciary Committee this year.
The UPS lobbying team on cyber includes Jeff Forbes, former staff director of the Senate Finance Committee and chief of staff to the panel chairman, Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
Spokesmen Jimmy Duvall of Ericsson and Cris Paden of Symantec did not respond to requests for comment. A UPS spokeswoman, Kara Ross, declined to comment, as did William Moss, a spokesman for Motorola Mobility.
“The new frontier is cyberwar in terms of our national defense,’’ Gartner’s Litan said. “I’m not surprised the lobbyists are ramping up.’’
— Bloomberg Government