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Feinstein Introduces Cybersecurity Information Sharing Bill

February 20, 2012


Lowers barriers to cyber-threat information sharing between companies,
federal government. Included in Senate’s comprehensive Cybersecurity
Act of 2012, to be introduced this week.

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, today introduced the Cybersecurity Information
Sharing Act of 2012. The bill provides increased authority for
cyber-threat information sharing and reduces legal barriers to allow
private entities to share cybersecurity information with each other
and the federal government.

Currently, a combination of existing law and risk-averse business
practices prevents or deters companies from sharing information about
cyber threats and the ability of hackers and cyber-thieves to
infiltrate corporate defenses.

“Alongside terrorism, cybersecurity is perhaps the number one threat
facing our nation today, but many obstacles exist that prevent the
cooperation and coordination needed to deter this growing threat,”
said Senator Feinstein. “I’m pleased that this bill will be
incorporated into the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which will be debated
by the Senate soon. It’s past time that we address the widespread and
devastating effects that cyber intrusions are having on our country.
Enhancing effective, responsible cyber-threat information sharing is a
key part of bolstering our cyber defense.”

At the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on Worldwide Threats
last month, the U.S. Intelligence Community equated cyber threats to
terrorism and proliferation as the highest priority threats to our
national security.

An unclassified report by the Intelligence Community made public in
November 2011 said cyber intrusions against U.S. companies cost
billions of dollars annually and named China and Russia as aggressive
and persistent cyber thieves. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is a
cosponsor of the bill.

Key provisions of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2012:

Requires the federal government to designate an agency or office as a
“cybersecurity exchange” to serve as a hub for distributing and
exchanging cyber-threat information.

Authorizes companies to monitor and defend their own networks.
Establishes procedures for private sector companies to share cyber
information with each other and with the federal government, and
provides appropriate liability protections and restrictions on
government use of that information.

Establishes procedures for the government to share classified
cybersecurity threat information with certified private sector
entities. Normally, only government contractors can acquire a security
clearance to receive classified cyber-threat information.
The bill does not provide any new authorities for conducting
surveillance. It also establishes a robust privacy compliance regime
to ensure that information shared with the federal government is


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