The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12-3 last week to advance the bipartisan Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA), which is intended to help the government and private sector prevent security breaches and cybercrime.
The bill—introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)—expands information shared about cybersecurity threats between private sector companies and the government, according to an Intelligence Committee press release.
“Cyberattacks present the greatest threat to our national and economic security today, and the magnitude is growing,” Feinstein, the chairman of the committee, said. “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 cyberattacks.”
Under the legislation, companies will be able to monitor their own networks and those of consenting consumers for cyber threats, as well as implement measures to block the threats.
The federal government would also be required to establish a “portal” managed by the Department of Homeland Security through which cyber threat information can be shared. Use of the information by the government will be limited.
“The legislation passed out of committee today is a strong, bipartisan bill that encourages the private sector and the government to share information voluntarily about these threats, without fear of frivolous lawsuits and without unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” Chambliss said. “The cyber threats to our nation are all too real. The Senate should take up and pass this bill before the August recess.”
The legislation has the support of a number of trade groups, including the American Bankers Association, Financial Services Roundtable, and Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association—the groups wrote to the committee ahead of the vote, saying the legislation will improve cross-sector information sharing.
Opponents of the legislation, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Democracy & Technology and Competitive Enterprise Institute, however, maintain that the legislation poses a threat to Americans’ privacy.
The bill will now move to the full Senate for consideration.