US passes contentious cyber security bill

Concerns linger about the amount of protection the bill offers for private information

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi reflected the concerns shared by many civil liberties groups, arguing that the bill did not do enough to ensure that companies, in sharing cyber threat data, strip out any personal data of US citizens. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi reflected the concerns shared by many civil liberties groups, arguing that the bill did not do enough to ensure that companies, in sharing cyber threat data, strip out any personal data of US citizens. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 19:30

The House of Representatives has passed legislation meant to help companies and the government share information on cyber threats, even though concerns linger about the amount of protection the bill offers for private information.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, H.R. 624, passed 288-127, receiving bipartisan support as 92 Democrats voted in favour. But the White House threatened this week to veto the legislation if further civil liberties and privacy protections are not added.

"We have a constitutional obligation to defend this nation," the bill's co-author and Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, said on the House floor, arguing that cyber attacks and espionage, particularly from China, are now the top US national security and economic threats.

"This is the answer to empower cyber information sharing to protect this nation, to allow those companies to protect themselves and move on to economic prosperity," Rogers said of the bill. "If you want to take a shot across China's bow, this is the answer."

But House minority leader Nancy Pelosi reflected the concerns shared by the White House and many civil liberties groups, arguing that the bill did not do enough to ensure that companies, in sharing cyber threat data, strip out any personal data of US citizens.

"They can just ship the whole kit and caboodle and we're saying minimize what is relevant to our national security," the California Democrat said. "The rest is none of the government's business."

Trying to put some of the privacy concerns to rest, the House Intelligence Committee leaders endorsed an amendment that made the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice - agencies that are civil, not military - the clearinghouses of the digital data exchange.

Nonetheless, the future of cybersecurity legislation in the Senate remains unclear, given Mr Obama's veto threat and a lack of action from Senate Democrats.

Several influential industry groups had come out in support of the bill, though, including the wireless group CTIA, the business lobby US Chamber of Commerce, and TechNet, which represents large Internet and technology companies.

Reuters

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.