Senate working on counterpart to CISPA cybersecurity bill

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is working on legislation that would encourage companies and the government to share information about cyber attacks.

In a brief interview with The Hill in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Feinstein said she has prepared a draft bill and plans to move it forward.

The legislation would be the Senate's counterpart to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known as CISPA, which cleared the House in April.

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CISPA would remove legal barriers that prevent companies from sharing information with each other and the government about cyber attacks. It would also allow the government to share more information with the private sector.

 

But privacy advocates fear that CISPA would give the National Security Agency access to a vast new trove of private information.

The White House has urged Congress to pass cyber information-sharing legislation but threatened to veto CISPA, saying it lacked adequate privacy safeguards. 

Congress failed to agree on cybersecurity legislation last year, and it may face an even tougher climb in light of Edward Snowden's leaks about the scope of the NSA's surveillance. 

Gregory Nojeim, a senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, argued the leaks showed that the NSA will broadly interpret any legislation to get access to as much information as possible.

"The information sharing in [former Sen. Joe] Lieberman's cybersecurity bill in the last Congress allowed for that kind of mischief and will need to be tightened up," Nojeim said.