Pawlenty: Cyber bill is ‘crucial next step’

It’s “crucial” that the Senate act on legislation to help businesses deal with cyber threats, former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty wrote Monday.

“Washington can and should play an important role in improving our nation’s cybersecurity,” Pawlenty wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. “Passage of legislation allowing companies to share cyber threat information with one another and the government without fear of being unduly penalized is a crucial next step.”

{mosads}Pawlenty, who is now president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, said the Senate’s gridlock on the issue is putting “consumers, businesses and our security at further risk.” 

The Roundtable, which advocates on behalf of the financial sector, has made cybersecurity a priority in recent months.

Earlier this year, the House passed two bills that would make it easier or the private sector to share information about cyber threats with government agencies.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) has said his bill — which would allow for information sharing between industry and the Department of Homeland Security — has an 80 percent chance of passing during the lame-duck session after the election.

McCaul and other Hill staffers are less certain about the odds for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a more controversial bill that would ease sharing between the National Security Agency (NSA) and industry.

“I did not bring my crystal ball with me,” said Tom Corcoran, a senior policy advisor with the House Intelligence Committee, when asked about CISPA’s chances at an Atlantic Council event last week.

Privacy advocates are behind McCaul’s bill, but not CISPA, which they argue would dangerously empower the NSA.

Pawlenty said such privacy concerns are overblown.

“It’s important to note we’re not talking about sharing personal or consumer data,” he wrote. “The shared information would include information such as threat indicators that describe the type of malicious code sent towards companies, the route such malware traveled, and suggestions to combat cyber threats.”

Companies combating cyber crime “in good faith,” need assurance from the government that they won’t face “needless lawsuits or sanctions,” Pawlenty said.

“The legislation would clearly help protect individuals and organizations from becoming victims,” he said.


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