A US House judiciary subcommittee on crime voted unanimously to amend the Cyber Security Enhancement Act (CSEA) to come down harder on hackers.
Following increasing concern over the vulnerability of the world's IT systems to terrorist attack, the US has proposed more draconian measures.
Currently the CSEA states that only those who attempt "to cause death or serious bodily injury" by electronic means are punishable by life imprisonment.
But the committee Tuesday voted for amendments that would give a life imprisonment sentence to those who "recklessly" put lives at risk by electronic means.
Another proposal approved by the panel would give the US Sentencing Commission greater powers in deciding penalties for hacking offences.
Proposed amendments could also force ISPs to hand over email logs and data to the authorities in cases where companies believe "in good faith" that "an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires disclosure of the information without delay."
Subcommittee chairman, Lamar Smith, said: "A few keystrokes and an internet connection is all one needs to disable the economy and endanger lives ... A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb."
Unsurprisingly, the proposal was met with disapproval from the civil liberties bodies. The Centre for Democracy and Technology said it had "serious problems" with the proposal, because it allowed information disclosure on request to a broad spectrum of government bodies, including state, local, federal and foreign.
Intel's neural network USB stick could bring AI to the masses
Dubbed Barnard's star B, newly discovered planet is believed to be rocky
Also, what's a USB stick?
Gravitational waves become extremely weak by the time they reach the Earth and require highly sensitive equipment for detection