House Expected to Pass Cyber Threat Sharing Bill Today

By | April 22, 2015

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider, and pass, on Wednesday a long-awaited bill that would make it easier for companies to share information about cybersecurity threats with the government without fear of lawsuits.

Congressional aides said on Tuesday they expected lawmakers would take up the bill during Wednesday’s House session and that it would pass with support from both Republicans and Democrats.

The House Intelligence Committee approved the bill unanimously last month. Similar legislation has stalled in the past, but the issue has taken on more urgency following high-profile cyberattacks on major corporations, including Sony.

A companion bill is making its way through the U.S. Senate, where it is expected to pass easily. The Senate Intelligence Committee passed its version of the legislation 14-1 in March and aides said it was likely to come up for a vote in the full Senate in the coming weeks.

The White House said on Tuesday it has some concerns about the bill, but supports its passage and believes it can be fixed as the legislation is finalized in Congress.

Some privacy advocates strongly oppose the legislation, saying it would do too little to prevent more data collection by the National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies. Such surveillance has come under scrutiny since 2013 disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Corporations have been clamoring for Congress to extend legal liability protections to them so they can more easily share data with the government to help prevent and respond to cyberattacks.

Several major companies, including Microsoft Corp, Lockheed Martin and Morgan Stanley, had pushed for a threat-sharing bill.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by David Gregorio)

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