‘Threat-sharing’ cybersecurity bill introduced in U.S. House

Leaders of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee introduced legislation on Tuesday to make it easier for companies to share information about cybersecurity threats with the government, without the fear of being sued.

Prompted in part by high-profile cyber attacks on corporations, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act has significant bipartisan support. Although privacy activists worry that it could lead to more surveillance, proponents say the measure has strong backing from the business community and a good chance of being passed by Congress.

“This is a growing concern and getting worse,” Republican. Representative Devin Nunes, the intelligence panel’s chairman, told reporters.

The intelligence panel is due to vote on the legislation on Thursday. If passed by the committee as expected, aides said they expect the full House to vote in late April. Similar legislation is also making its way through the Senate, after being passed 14-1 by that chamber’s intelligence panel.

The measure offers corporations liability protection if they share information through a civilian portal, most likely to be run by the Department of Homeland Security. Data handed over also would be “scrubbed” twice to remove personal information.

If passed, the separate bills would have to be reconciled before being sent to the White House for President Barack Obama to veto or sign into law.

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