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Washington
Sen. committee passes information-sharing cybersecurity bill
WASHINGTON (7/10/14)--The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a 12-3 vote Wednesday. The bill would expand information shared about cybersecurity threats and defense mechanisms between the government and private sector.

"Every week we hear about the theft of personal information from retailers and trade secrets from innovative businesses, as well as ongoing efforts by foreign nations to hack government networks. This bill is an important step toward curbing these dangerous cyber attacks," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the committee, in statement. "To strengthen our networks, the government and private sector need to share information about attacks they are facing and how best to defend against them. This bill provides for that sharing through a purely voluntary process and with significant measures to protect private information."

Committee Vice Chair Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said the bill would allow businesses and the government to share information "without fear of frivolous lawsuits and without unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles."

The act calls for:
  • The director of national intelligence to increase sharing of classified and unclassified cyberthreat information to the private sector;

  • Individuals and companies to monitor their own computer networks and those of consenting customers for cyberthreats and to implement countermeasures to block threats;

  • Authorization of the voluntary sharing of cyberthreat information by individuals and companies with each other and with the government. Sharing is for cybersecurity purposes only and companies must take appropriate measures to protect against the sharing of personal information;

  • Liability protections to be put in place for individuals and companies that appropriately monitor their networks or share cyberinformation;
  • Federal government procedures for the receipt, sharing and use of cyberinformation;

  • A limit to the government's ability to use information it receives to cyber-related purposes to ensure it does not engage in inappropriate investigations or regulation; and
  • Reports on the implementation of these authorities by the heads of federal departments, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and relevant inspectors general.
The committee's adopted version of the act is expected to be introduced later this week.
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