Committee approves cybersharing bill despite privacy concerns

The bill would give the NSA access to private information held by U.S. companies, a critic says

The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has approved a recently introduced bill that would allow greater cyberthreat information sharing between U.S. intelligence agencies and private companies even though privacy advocates say it would allow those agencies to spy on U.S. residents.

The committee approved the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act late Thursday by a 17-1 vote. The bill, introduced just Wednesday, would allow intelligence agencies to share classified cyberthreat information with approved U.S. companies, while encouraging companies to share their own information with the government or other companies.

The next step for the bill is a vote in the full House. That vote has not yet been scheduled.

The bill will protect privacy, said Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and committee chairman. "The decisiveness of the vote shows the tremendous bipartisan support for this bill," he said in a statement. "Through hard work and compromise we have struck a delicate balance that provides strong protections for privacy and civil liberties, while still enabling effective cyber threat sharing and providing clear authority for the private sector to defend its own networks."

The bill would help protect U.S. businesses from cyberespionage, Rogers said.

Information sharing is a good goal, but the bill goes too far, said Jim Dempsey, vice president of public policy for the Center for Democracy and Technology. The bill could give the U.S. National Security Agency new access to personal information held by U.S. companies, given the legislation's broad definition of the kind of information that companies can share with the NSA and other government agencies, he said.

The bill allows companies to share any information pertaining to the protection of information systems, Dempsey said. That "potentially could be all traffic," he said.

The bill, although it says information sharing with the government is voluntary, could also allow the NSA to demand that private companies share their information in exchange for the cyber-threat information the agency has, Dempsey said. "It creates an incentive structure as to who gets the NSA's secret sauce," he said. "We're afraid that the NSA would use that, basically, as a trading card. They would say, 'We'll give you our good stuff, if you give us a lot of your good stuff.'"

The bill would also shift responsibility for cybersecurity from private industry to the government, and from civilian agencies within the government to intelligence and military agencies, Dempsey said. "We think the government should not be involved in monitoring the private-sector networks," he said.

Bill sponsors Rogers and Representative C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, a Maryland Democrat, introduced an amendment, approved by the committee, designed to limit government agencies' use of information they get from private companies.

The amendment prohibits the government from using cyberthreat information unless at least one significant purpose is cybersecurity or national security. It also prohibits the government from searching through any cyberthreat information it receives from the private sector for any purposes not authorized by the bill.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Government use of ITU.S. National Security AgencyJim DempseyCenter for Democracy and TechnologylegislationgovernmentMike RogersC.A. Ruppersbergerdata protectionprivacyU.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committeesecurity

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?