Week ahead: House to vote on cyber bills

Get ready for cyber week on Capitol Hill.

The House is expected to vote on its two major cybersecurity bills late this week.

The bills would grant liability protections for companies when sharing cyber threat data with civilian government agencies.

ADVERTISEMENT

The measures, although headed to the floor separately, were designed to be complementary.

Both offerings have gained broad support from both parties and seem to have a good chance of passing.

Industry groups and government officials have stressed the importance of increasing cyber info-sharing between the public and private sectors. It’s a necessary step, they argue, to better understand hackers’ tactics and defend critical networks.

Privacy advocates maintain the bills are short on provisions to stop the National Security Agency from obtaining and using Americans’ personal data for surveillance purposes.

Separately, the House has been considering a number of data breach notification bills that would require companies to alert customers following a hack. The measures would also set data security standards.

Democrats have recently withdrawn some support for the data breach offerings, fearing the consumer protection language would replace stronger, long-established state laws.

Some lawmakers and industry groups are afraid Republicans may try to add the controversial data breach language to one of the popular cyber info-sharing bills as a way to get it through the House.

“I would be concerned if the measures were tied together in a way that slowed down the progress of cyber,” House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth Jan. 6 panel releases contempt report on Trump DOJ official ahead of censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back MORE (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of one threat-sharing bill, told The Hill. Schiff added he hasn’t heard that that will happen.

As if that weren’t enough action, the House Oversight Committee has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday to examine the role outside contractors have played in federal agency data breaches.

On the Senate side, a companion cyber threat-sharing measure is also headed for a vote by the end of the month.

Privacy-minded lawmakers, including Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyVermont Lt. Gov. launches bid for US House Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans MORE (D-Vt.) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenators turn up the heat on Amazon, data brokers during hearing Minimum tax proposal drives wedge between corporate interests Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill MORE (D-Ore.), are forming a coalition that could offer amendments once the bill hits the floor.

It’s not clear, though, that the civil liberties amendments would spark a fight that kills the offering, known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.

Over at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is set to release a new cybersecurity strategy, likely during a speech Thursday at Stanford University.

While details are still scarce, early indications are that it will include some creative plans for recruiting cybersecurity personnel from traditionally anti-Pentagon locales like Silicon Valley.

The Defense Department also wants to fill out its cyber ranks by bringing more security pros into the National Guard and the Reserve.

 

RECENT STORIES:

A new bill would protect security research hacking: http://bit.ly/1b5g39o

Bloomberg’s financial computing terminals went down Friday morning: http://bit.ly/1aEjQtC

Security researchers say they can do their job without Congress’s cyber bills: http://bit.ly/1EaTjlt

China officially suspended controversial banking cybersecurity rules: http://bit.ly/1Dsledi

Privacy advocates want federal agencies to adopt better encryption to protect whistleblowers: http://bit.ly/1b5ghxa