New Bill Helps Businesses, Individuals Fight Cyberattacks
Investor's Business Daily
April 25, 2012

Every day, thousands of American families and job creators are targeted by Internet hackers and countries like China who are out to steal, destroy or disrupt one of our economy's most vital assets: information.

These online attacks are frequent, often successful, and jeopardize both our personal privacy, and our country's long-term economic growth and job creation.

When a hacker steals your bank records or Social Security number — or gains access to your email or social network accounts — your identity and finances are put at risk.

When spies or foreign countries use stolen business plans or product information to compete with American firms, American jobs are put at risk.

Cyberattacks can also shut down the sites we visit and services we use on a daily basis.

This week the House will take action to address the cybersecurity threat by voting on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523).

This bipartisan bill does three things:

To help thwart cyberattacks, it allows the federal government to share information about cybersecurity threats with the private sector, and private-sector companies with each other. It protects Americans' privacy. And it keeps the federal government's hands off the Internet.

In our "Pledge to America," Republicans promised to make the legislative process more open. H.R. 3523 reflects that pledge.

It was written by lawmakers in both parties working with technology experts, privacy and civil liberties advocates, the administration and others who understand how best to address a threat that is always changing and evolving in a way that provides both freedom and security.

The private sector owns and operates most of the networks under assault. So instead of imposing new mandates, or having government agencies monitor or police private networks, H.R. 3523 helps private-sector job creators defend themselves and their users.

Today our intelligence professionals not only gather information about hostile regimes and militaries, they identify cyberthreats that endanger the American people. This information currently only helps protect the government and military. H.R. 3523 would allow private companies to put government intelligence about online threats to use as well, and to work together to protect their networks.

The bill also safeguards our personal information. All of the intelligence shared under H.R. 3523 is voluntary.

Companies can access cybersecurity data from the federal government but can't be forced to turn anything over to the government.

Companies are encouraged to anonymize and minimize the information they do share. And the government's use of any data it receives is strictly limited.

Finally, the bill does not impose any new regulations. It doesn't require additional spending or bureaucracy.

And it does not allow the government to censor content or stop access to particular websites, and forbids the government from ordering private companies to do so.

The House is already on record here; we voted last year to stop federal bureaucrats from regulating the Internet. The government has no business monitoring or regulating what you do online.

But hackers and foreign governments have no business doing so either. H.R. 3523 is one of several measures the House is considering this week to combat the threat of cybersecurity attacks, and prevent our enemies from using the Internet to disrupt our economy and attack the American people.

From high gas prices to tax hikes to an unemployment rate that's been above 8% for more than three years, the American people have enough to worry about under the Obama administration.

Making it easier for private-sector job creators to defend against online attacks by hackers and foreign governments is a common-sense solution that will protect American jobs and create a better environment for long-term economic growth.

Boehner, R-Ohio, is speaker of the House of Representatives.