Cybersecurity bill passes Senate committee

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA), co-sponsored by Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), through committee on Friday.

The act, which advanced by a vote of 14 to 1, promotes the sharing of cybersecurity threat information with the private sector.

“This bipartisan legislation is critical to securing our nation against escalating cyber threats,” Burr said. “I’m pleased CISA will advance to the Senate floor where it will enjoy support from both sides of the aisle. The bill we passed today is overdue and will enable our agencies and institutions to share information about cyber threats while also providing strong privacy protection for our citizens. With risks growing every day, we are finally better prepared to combat cyber attackers with this bill.”

In addition to the increased sharing of cybersecurity threats, the bill would create an electronic portal at the Department of Homeland Security that would allow it to more quickly react to cyber threats, and offer liability protection for companies that monitor their networks and share information about cybersecurity threats. The bill also would provide privacy protection by making the sharing of cyber threat information voluntary, limiting cyber threat indicators to a narrowly defined list and requiring the removal of all personal information before any cyber threat information can be shared. 

“The bill approved today by the Intelligence Committee on a strong bipartisan vote is a critical step to confront one of the most dire national and economic threats we face: cyber attacks,” Feinstein said. “In just the last year, hundreds of millions of Americans have had their data compromised, a number of major American companies have been attacked, intellectual property has been stolen and there have even been attempts to hack our critical infrastructure. This bill would help defend against cyber attacks by allowing purely voluntary information sharing — limited to specific information about cyber threats — to better help the private sector and government understand and respond to these threats. The robust privacy requirements and liability protection make this a balanced bill, and I hope the Senate acts on it quickly.”