Senators unveil bill to address 'massive and growing' threat

Private companies would have an easier time sharing information about cyber threats under a new bill from Senate Intelligence Committee leaders that is set to move forward next week.

Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) unveiled a bill Tuesday that would incentivize companies to share information about cyber threats with each other and the government.

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The bill “responds to the massive and growing threat to national and economic security from cyber intrusion and attack, and seeks to improve the security of public and private computer networks by increasing awareness of threats and defenses,” according to a release from Feinstein’s office.

The release said that the committee is set to consider the bill next week.

According to the release, the bill removes legal obstacles and provides liability protections for companies that want to share information about cyber threats. 

The bill also directs the federal government to share information about cyber threats with private companies “at the classified and unclassified levels.”

The bill includes measures aimed at protecting privacy as companies share information with each other and the government.

The Obama administration, lawmakers and privacy advocates have criticized past attempts at information-sharing cybersecurity bills over concerns about privacy. 

The new bill from Feinstein and Chambliss requires that companies strip their cyber threat information of any data that can be used to identify a person before sharing while requiring that any information shared with the government in real time be given to the Department of Homeland Security.

It also requires that the U.S. attorney general create processes to ensure the information is used only for cybersecurity purposes and requires oversight from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight board, among others.