House bill aims to share US data on cyber threats

Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:22pm EST

* Rules to be set to share classified data with companies

* House bill to be introduced this week

* Senate seeks more comprehensive bill, maybe next year

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives will introduce a bill this week to give some U.S. companies more access to cyber threat intelligence, which they can use to defend themselves against hackers looking to steal everything from credit card numbers to intellectual property, according to a copy of a bill obtained by Reuters.

Internet service providers and other companies have long complained that they give information to the U.S. government about potential threats but do not generally get enough back, either because it is classified or because the investigation is linked to a potential prosecution.

Under a bill to be introduced by Representative Mike Rogers, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and ranking member C.A. Ruppersberger, the Director of National Intelligence will set rules that will allow some classified cyber threat data to be shared, the draft said.

The committee website indicates that the bill will be introduced this week.

The 11-page bill requires that companies not be subject to civil or criminal lawsuits because of the data sharing, or for failing to act on any cybersecurity data obtained as part of the information sharing, according to the bill.

A cyber task force in the House, which is dominated by Republicans, issued a report in October urging legislation be done on a piecemeal basis. This is in contrast with the Senate, which is more interested in a comprehensive bill.

On the other hand, there is agreement on the substance of several major cybersecurity initiatives.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that it will take up overarching cybersecurity legislation next year. The upper chamber has been working on various bills for two years and on a comprehensive bill for six months without finishing a draft.

U.S. lawmakers have considered several cybersecurity bills in recent years, but failed to pass any despite a growing sense of urgency following high profile hacks of Google , Lockheed Martin Corp , the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier, Citigroup , the International Monetary Fund and others.

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