On Tuesday, U.S. Senators are expected to revise the bill before they cast their final vote. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, should force a vote by the end of the day. The new law would hike cybersecurity of private companies by allowing them to disclose to the federal agencies threats and hacks that compromised their security.
McConnell explained that “voluntary information-sharing” about cyber threats is a key provision when it comes to protecting the security of U.S. firms and the people that Senators represent.
But critics argue that the new legislation may not improve cybersecurity, yet it would definitely lead to more government snooping into private affairs. One of the critics, Senator Ron Wyden, pledged that he would propose some changes that would provide U.S. citizens with protection against government interference.
Yet, despite criticism, the bill is heavily backed in the U.S. Senate and it should soon reach the House.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act is designed to prevent other data breaches by shielding the threatened companies legally against international and domestic hackers.
Update: On Tuesday, the Senate voted 83 to 14 for the bill, and the piece of legislation may soon move to a final floor vote. The new rules have a strong support from the Obama administration and it passed the House in a similar form several months ago.
Yet there are tech companies including Apple and Google that criticized the new bill for not providing companies and customers with guarantees that the government won’t abuse the shared data. These companies are also concerned that the new legislation would enhance federal surveillance.
The bill is backed by major agencies including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as an attempt to shield corporate networks from cyberattacks. The bill was first proposed by Sen. Richard Burr, the head of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
According to the new legislation, private companies are allowed to share sensitive data on their networks’ safety with the government and other companies through a platform managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Yet, some senators think that it is safer for companies to share that data directly with the agencies rather than going through DHS. But Obama administration recently announced that it would ‘strongly oppose’ any similar changes brought to the bill.
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