Intel chairs slam ‘knee-jerk’ opposition to cyber sharing bill

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Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are taking on critics of a cybersecurity information-sharing bill.

The sponsors of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) hit back at opponents who have likened the measure to a “surveillance bill” on Friday.

“[T]here are some groups that are opposing the bill out of a knee-jerk reaction against any communication between the government and industry,” Feinstein and Burr said in a statement.

{mosads}“If these special interest groups are successful in mischaracterizing this bill, which authorizes purely voluntary sharing, they will only succeed in allowing more personal information to be compromised to criminals and foreign countries.”

The Intelligence panel leaders urged action on the bill following a breach that might have exposed private data for 15 million current and prospective T-Mobile customers.

The bill is intended to boost the flow of information between the federal government and private industry.

CISA has faced fierce opposition from privacy groups and the technology industry on the grounds that it will funnel personal data to government agencies that have shown they are incapable of protecting sensitive information.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) was the only senator to vote against CISA in committee and has led the charge against the bill.

“The United States should pull out all the stops to go after foreign hackers and foreign threats, but there’s a way to do that without threatening the privacy of millions of law-abiding Americans,” Wyden said in June.

The legislation could see floor time as early as next week. Observers say that leadership is working on a deal to cut down on a list of 21 amendments currently slated for debate.

On Thursday, T-Mobile revealed that a security breach at one of its vendors might have exposed the personal data of people who had a credit check with the company over a two-year period ending Sept. 16.

Tags Dianne Feinstein Richard Burr Ron Wyden

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