The House Intelligence Committee overwhelmingly approved a new cybersecurity bill after some alterations having to do with civil liberties protections were made to satisfy congressional Democrats and the White House.
The measure would allow the government and private companies to share information about electronic threats and attacks. Private entities would participate on a voluntary basis and would receive significant liability protections in return.
The White House and Democrats on the committee had expressed concerns about the possibility that information sharing could lead to invasions of privacy on matters unrelated to protecting the nation. The ACLU charged that the bill, in its original form, did not limit the type of information companies could share with the government. Others expressed fear that the bill could also concentrate private citizens’ information in the hands of the National Security Agency, without restrictions on how the government could use the data.
To win Democratic support for the bill, Rogers and Ruppersberger agreed to new language intended to ensure that only information pertaining to cybersecurity and national security could be used.
So it’s off to the full House and so on up the hallowed halls of government but this one looks to have a pretty easy path to being a law coming off a 17 to 1 committee vote. President Obama has talked about the urgent need for clearer cybersecurity guidance and it’s not like hacking is slowing down any time soon.