WASHINGTON, April 30 U.S. administration
officials, private sector executives and privacy advocates are
reviewing a draft of a bill that would encourage sharing of
cybersecurity data between the government and companies, two key
Senators said on Wednesday.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a
California Democrat, and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss, a
Georgia Republican, said they have circulated the draft to key
stakeholders in its early stages to avoid the disagreements that
have thwarted passage in the past.
"We have worked together for months to draft a bill that
allows companies to monitor their computer networks for cyber
attacks, promotes sharing of cyber threat information and
provides liability protection for companies who share that
information," Feinstein and Chambliss said in a statement.
U.S. lawmakers have been considering legislation to provide
clarity about how private companies should be required to
disclose security breaches and cyber threats, but spats over
liability and privacy protections have thwarted passage of
comprehensive cyber security bills thus far.
Many companies have urged Congress to pass cyber legislation
but ensure that it limits the private sector's liability in
sharing cyber data.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives last year
for the second time passed legislation addressing cyber
information sharing, but efforts fizzled in the Senate, where
many Democrats had sought a broader bill.
Earlier this month, Wes Bush, chief executive of U.S.
weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp urged lawmakers to
pass a bill that would enable companies to take more decisive
action to protect their computer networks without fear of being
"To be successful, we ultimately have to provide the
corporate partners that we would share information with some
level of liability protection," Admiral Michael Rogers, the new
National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command chief, said at
his confirmation hearing in March.
Privacy advocates have opposed giving companies liability
protections, worried of abuses of consumer data both by the
private sector and the government.
The bill by Feinstein and Chambliss would offer liability
protections and considers the possibility of data being shared
not only with a civilian government agency but also military or
intelligence agencies, according to a copy posted by the
Washington Post, which first reported news of the draft.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Ros Krasny and Chris