| WASHINGTON, April 18
WASHINGTON, April 18 The House of
Representatives on Thursday passed legislation meant to help
companies and the government share information on cyber threats,
even though concerns linger about the amount of protection the
bill offers for private information.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, H.R. 624,
passed 288-127, receiving bipartisan support as 92 Democrats
voted in favor. But the White House threatened this week to veto
the legislation if further civil liberties and privacy
protections are not added.
"We have a constitutional obligation to defend this nation,"
the bill's co-author and Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike
Rogers, a Michigan Republican, said on the House floor, arguing
that cyber attacks and espionage, particularly from China, are
now the top U.S. national security and economic threats.
"This is the answer to empower cyber information sharing to
protect this nation, to allow those companies to protect
themselves and move on to economic prosperity," Rogers said of
the bill. "If you want to take a shot across China's bow, this
is the answer."
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reflected the
concerns shared by the White House and many civil liberties
groups, arguing that the bill did not do enough to ensure that
companies, in sharing cyber threat data, strip out any personal
data of U.S. citizens.
"They can just ship the whole kit and caboodle and we're
saying minimize what is relevant to our national security," the
California Democrat said. "The rest is none of the government's
Trying to put some of the privacy concerns to rest, the
House Intelligence Committee leaders endorsed an amendment that
made the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of
Justice - agencies that are civil, not military - the
clearinghouses of the digital data exchange.
Nonetheless, the future of cybersecurity legislation in the
Senate remains unclear, given Obama's veto threat and a lack of
action from Senate Democrats.
Several influential industry groups had come out in support
of the bill, though, including the wireless group CTIA, the
business lobby U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and TechNet, which
represents large Internet and technology companies.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Ros Krasny and Philip