House passes online security bill

Bret Bevens, PDT Sports Writer

April 19, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

On Thursday, the U.S. House passed cyber security legislation backed by companies including Boeing Co. and AT&T Inc. defying a veto threat by President Barack Obama’s administration over what it called inadequate privacy protections. The bill passed 288 to 127.

One of those voting in support of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-2), who said the bill would allow the federal government to share cyber threat intelligence with the private sector to better protect consumers.

“As Americans rely more than ever on the Internet, from online banking to medical records, cyber attacks continue to grow in number and sophistication every day. We must equip our cyber security professionals in both the private and public sector with the tools to better identify and thwart dangerous cyber attacks, hacks and network infiltrations,” Wenstrup said. “The Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act is a necessary measure to protect web users’ and private-sector information from foreign attacks originating in China, Iran, Russia and other aggressors seeking to steal trade secrets and proprietary data.”

The Office of Budget and Management issued a statement on behalf of the Obama administration.

“The Administration recognizes and appreciates that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) adopted several amendments to H.R. 624 in an effort to incorporate the Administration’s important substantive concerns. However, the Administration still seeks additional improvements and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the President, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill. The Administration seeks to build upon the continuing dialogue with the HPSCI and stands ready to work with members of Congress to incorporate our core priorities to produce cyber security information sharing legislation that addresses these critical issues.

Congress is renewing a push to pass cyber security legislation following warnings by U.S. intelligence officials that electronic attacks could disrupt the nation’s banks, utilities, telecommunications networks and other essential services. It isn’t clear whether the Senate will take up the House bill or offer its own version.

The threat of cyber attacks has, for the first time, become a greater concern than terrorism, James Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence official, told the House Intelligence Committee during an April 11 hearing. The Chinese army may be behind the hacking of at least 141 companies worldwide since 2006, according to a Feb. 19 report from Alexandria, Virginia-based Mandiant Corp.

“I am especially encouraged that this bill has enormously enhanced privacy protections for personal data and personal information and does not provide any new authorities for the government to monitor private networks,” Wenstrup said. “Additionally, private-sector participation is completely voluntary. This bill is a strong step towards protecting Internet users and promoting a free and vibrant Internet.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.