News

Senate intelligence committee approves cyber security bill

Senate intelligence committee approves cyber security bill

CYBER SECURITY:Experts see the bill as the best chance for the current congress to pass some type of legislation to encourage better cooperation between the government and private companies to boost the cyber defenses of critical industries. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill on Tuesday to encourage companies to exchange information with the government on hacking attempts and cyber security threats, officials said.

Despite concerns by some that the measure does not do enough to protect privacy, the committee voted 12-3 to advance the measure authored by its chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, their offices said.

Experts see the bill as the best chance for the current congress to pass some type of legislation to encourage better cooperation between the government and private companies to boost the cyber defenses of critical industries.

“Cyber attacks present the greatest threat to our national and economic security today, and the magnitude of the threat is growing,” Feinstein said in a statement. “This bill is an important step toward curbing these dangerous cyber attacks.”

U.S. lawmakers have been considering for months legislation to help private companies better communicate about security breaches and cyber threats. However, comprehensive cyber bills have been delayed by spats over liability and concerns about privacy, especially following the leak of information about government surveillance programs by former contractor Edward Snowden.

The Senate bill still faces hurdles before becoming law. It must be approved by the full Senate and reconciled with similar legislation that passed the House of Representatives in April.

SUPPORT IN THE HOUSE

However, there are already signs that the measure has bipartisan support in the House. The Republican chairman and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee issued a statement on Tuesday backing the measure and urging the full Senate to vote quickly.

“We are confident that the House and the Senate will quickly come together to address this urgent threat and craft a final bill that secures our networks and protects privacy and civil liberties,” Michigan Republican Mike Rogers and Maryland Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger said in a statement.

Among other things, the bill by Feinstein and Chambliss would authorize companies and individuals to monitor their own and consenting customers’ networks for hacking and voluntarily share cyber threat data, stripped of personally identifiable information, with the government and each other for cybersecurity purposes.

The legislation also directs the U.S. director of national intelligence to increase the amount of information the government shares with private firms and the Department of Homeland Security to set up and manage a data sharing portal.

The measure would also offer liability protections to companies that appropriately monitor their networks or share cyber threat data and limit the government’s ability to use data it receives.

Some privacy advocates have opposed giving companies liability protections, worried about abuses of consumer data both by the private sector and the government.

Democratic Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, both members of the intelligence committee, said after the vote that they had opposed the bill because they felt it did not include sufficient privacy protections.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh in Toronto, additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)

Recent Headlines

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: ‘Scaring’ with the ‘Stars’

Fresh
11-overlay3

Halloween is alive and well on the set of the hit ABC show "Dancing With the Stars."

in Music

Gregg Allman dropped from ‘Midnight Rider’ lawsuit

Fresh
allman

The rocker was was dropped from a wrongful death suit stemming from the on-set death of a Georgia woman during the filming of "Midnight RIder."

in Entertainment

PHOTOS: 20 celebrities who dress like Halloween all year

Fresh
ozzy

Some celebrities dress like every day is one big costume party.

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 31

phoenix

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable moments.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘Birdman’ could be the best film of 2014

In this image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Michael Keaton portrays Riggan in a scene from "Birdman."

You’ve heard the buzz for Michael Keaton's "Birdman." It’s loud and it's merited.