Securing American Jobs & Protecting Americans’ Privacy Against Cyber Attacks

The House will vote this week on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523), bipartisan legislation that makes it easier for private-sector job creators to defend themselves and their customers’ privacy against Internet attacks by hackers and countries like China.

The legislation is sponsored by Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. C.A. Ruppersberger (D-MD), and cosponsored by more than 100 lawmakers. It was crafted – and amended – out in the open in coordination with private-sector companies, trade groups, and privacy and civil liberties advocates.

Alex Fitzpatrick at tech blog Mashable says Chairman Rogers wants to address the problem of “state-sponsored cyberattacks that steal top-secret information from American firms in order to give foreign companies an unfair advantage in the global marketplace.”

Cyber-attacks are a serious threat to American job creation and economic growth -- VOA News says cyber theft “has cost U.S.-owned businesses about $14 billion in reported economic losses since last October” alone. The House Intelligence Committee says the costs “range up to $400 billion a year.”

According to CNN, “[f]oreign spies and organized criminals are inside of virtually every U.S. company's network,” and top cybersecurity experts believe “cyber criminals or terrorists have the capability to take down the country's critical financial, energy or communications infrastructure.”

So what does the bill do? “Under the Rogers–Ruppersberger approach,” the Heritage Foundation says “[p]rivate sector entities would be given clear legal authority to defend their own networks and share cyber threat information with others in the private sector as well with the federal government.” And this sharing “would be purely voluntary” – the government can’t force companies to hand over information, nor can it stop access to websites or censor content (or order anyone else to do so).

U.S. News & World Report says H.R. 3523 would also “allow the government to share all of its classified cyber-security knowledge with private companies.” Helping the private-sector defend itself “would hopefully keep China (and other countries and hackers) out of American computer networks.”

Check out this background and Q&A for more information on the intelligence sharing bill – including the bill’s provisions protecting Americans’ privacy – and be sure to follow @HouseIntelComm on Twitter.