Intel chairman: Obama's cybersecurity order paves the way for CISPA

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CISPA would remove legal barriers that prevent companies and the government from sharing information about cyber threats. 

The legislation is the same version that the lawmakers pushed last year, when it raised the ire of privacy advocates and prompted a veto threat from the White House. CISPA cleared the House, but the Senate refused to take it up. 

President Obama and Senate Democrats insisted last year that any cybersecurity legislation include stronger privacy protections and set security standards for companies that operate critical infrastructure, like banks and power plants.

Citing Congress's inability to agree to cybersecurity legislation, President Obama signed an executive order on Tuesday that will create a voluntary set of cybersecurity best-practices for critical infrastructure companies.

The order also requires federal agencies to share more information with the public about cyber threats to U.S. companies and the public.

But the executive order only directs agencies to exercise legal authority they already have. The president cannot grant new legal powers or protections without congressional approval.

During his State of the Union address, Obama touted the executive order, but said Congress must still enact legislation to "give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks."

Rogers applauded Obama for recognizing the seriousness of the nation's vulnerability to hackers. He said he has been having constructive discussions with administration officials and Senate leaders, and he is optimistic Congress will enact a compromise bill this year.

Industry groups, including Verizon and the Software & Information Industry Association, issued statements saying CISPA would help them combat cyber threats without imposing burdensome regulations.

But privacy advocates such as the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) promised to renew their fight against CISPA, warning it would give government spy agencies access to people's personal information.

Rogers and Ruppersberger claimed that their bill already has strong privacy protections.

Ruppersberger said the sponsors "bent over backwards" to protect constitutional rights and personal privacy.

"The bill does not authorize the government to monitor your computer or read your emails, tweets or Facebook posts. That is clear," Ruppersberger said.

"It is not a surveillance program. It's in real-time, at the speed of light, exchanging zeroes and ones when it comes to malicious software," Rogers explained.