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House begins debate on cyber bill opposed by administration

Apr. 26, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON   |   Comments
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is one of the sponsors of HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is one of the sponsors of HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). (Staff file photo)

The House begins debate Thursday on a cybersecurity bill opposed by the Obama administration and privacy advocates who argue it would threaten civil liberties.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), HR 3523, would allow the government to share intelligence information with the private sector and encourage companies to voluntarily share information about cyber incidents.

But sharp criticism from the Center for Democracy and Technology and other groups prompted several revisions by the bill's authors, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., the committee's ranking member.

Among the changes is a proposed amendment that would prohibit the government from retaining or using cyber information for purposes not stated in the bill.

"I am very pleased with where the bill stands today," Rogers said in a statement Tuesday. Several amendments will be debated on the floor before a final vote Friday. The bill has 112 co-sponsors.

Senior administration advisers recommend the president veto the bill in its current form.

The White House said the bill fails to improve security of the nation's most critical infrastructure and fails to ensure that threat information shared with the government doesn't include citizens' personal information that could be inappropriately used for purposes other than cybersecurity.

The House also will vote on three related but noncontroversial bills Thursday:

HR 4257, the 2012 Federal Information Security Amendments Act, would require agencies to continuously monitor the security of federal information systems. The bill would also require agencies to appoint a chief information security officer or senior official to oversee information security programs and enforce compliance.

HR 2096, the 2011 Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, would reauthorize cybersecurity research programs at the National Science Foundation and coordinate agencies' research and development activities concerning evolving cyber threats.

HR 3834, the 2012 Advancing America's Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act, would reauthorize the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program. The program focuses on research and development for securing unclassified networks.

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