Chamber backs Senate cyber bill

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pressuring the Senate to take up and “expeditiously” pass a Senate cybersecurity bill that would encourage companies to share information about cyber threats with each other and the federal government.

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The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act “would strengthen the protection and resilience of businesses’ information networks and systems against increasingly sophisticated and malicious actors,” the Chamber said in a letter Monday.

The bill — from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice-chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) — passed through the Intelligence Committee earlier this month by a 12-3 vote.

The group praised the bill’s protections for companies that share information about cyber threats.

It’s “targeted protections — including limited liability, disclosure, regulation, and antitrust — should constructively influence businesses’ decisions to share cyber threat data and countermeasures more quickly and frequently,” the letter said.

That bill has faced backlash from privacy advocates, who warn that it would let government agencies, including the National Security Agency, share and use information without adequate restraints and say it would give private companies too much leeway in identifying and responding to cyber threats.

The bill’s opponents include Senate Intelligence Committee members Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who both warned of the bill’s consequences for privacy and civil liberties.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) also expressed concerns about the bill’s affect on privacy.

“I felt it was more of a compromise than it needed to be,” he said off the Senate floor last week.