CISPA Successor Passes Senate Intelligence Committee Hurdles

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 passed the Senate Intelligence Committee in a 12 to 3 vote yesterday, clearing the way for the successor to CISPA to be put to a vote in the full Senate at some point this year.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) allows the federal government and the private sector to voluntarily share information on cyber threats with each other. In return for corporate cooperation, companies that deal in personal data are given immunity from lawsuits. The bill isn't all that much different from CISPA, and privacy groups hate it just as much as its predecessor.

The bill authorizes a number of things including funding for counterterrorism, the collection of intelligence on critical threats and advance IT infrastructure, and compels the general counsel of intelligence agencies to alert congressional intelligence committees on legal interpretations of the Constitution or federal law regarding intelligence activities. It also requires the attorney general to regularly review official publication of Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinions and provides for whistleblower protections for intelligence personnel.

It also shields intelligence community employees from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act.

Two of the dissenting votes within the committee, Democratic Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, issued a joint statement warning that:

"We have seen how the federal government has exploited loopholes to collect Americans' private information in the name of security. Without these protections in place, private companies will rightly see participation as bad for business."

We will have more on this story as it develops.

Source: SC Magazine

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