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The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has introduced a new threat sharing bill designed to let businesses share details of security treats without fear of litigation, reports Gizmodo.
The Protecting Cyber Networks Act would ensure that hacked companies pass on information of suspicious activity to a civilian organization, instead to the Department of Defense or the National Security Agency.
The threat sharing bill has a strong chance of being passed by Congress, with the intelligence panel voting on it tomorrow. If it passes, it will move onto a full House vote next month, where it is expected to attract bipartisan support.
It is similar to legislation currently working its way through the Senate, after it was passed by 14 votes to one by the chamber’s intelligence office. The legislation offers liability protection to firms sharing information through a civilian portal, though Reuters says that data handed over “would be ‘scrubbed’ twice to remove personal information.”
International Business Times explains that the main stumbling block facing legislation of this type is the “fierce opposition” it often receives from privacy advocates.
The House has previously passed legislation designed to allow companies to share threat data without legal repercussions, but this fell down when President Obama threatened to use his veto over privacy concerns. It could be different this time, with the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, Adam Schiff, explaining that the concerns had been addressed with this bill. “We’re light years ahead of where we were last session,” he commented. Given Schiff is described by International Business Times as a “pro-privacy Democrat”, this quote could be significant.
If the bill falters, then any movement is unlikely to happen until a new President is in the White House. “If they issue a veto threat or say anything negative about this legislation, it’s dead,” commented Republican Representative Devin Nunes, the intelligence panel’s chairman.
Author Alan Martin, ESET