Overnight Cybersecurity

Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate overwhelmingly passes cyber sharing bill

Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We’re here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry try to counter the rise in cyber threats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you’re a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we’re here to give you …


–IT’S AN IMPACT TREMOR, IS WHAT IT IS: The Senate on Tuesday passed a major piece of cybersecurity legislation intended to stem the flood of cyberattacks on both government agencies and private companies. The so-called Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a piece of legislation years in the making, passed 74-21. The House approved companion legislation in April, so the cybersecurity measure is now on track to reach President Obama’s desk and be signed into law, once a conference report is negotiated. CISA attempts to open up communication channels between industry and federal agencies by offering legal immunity to companies that share data with the government. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), expressed relief on the Senate floor as her bill finally appeared bound for passage. “For me this has been a six-year effort, and it hasn’t been easy,” she said, referencing the myriad changes and compromises needed to get the bill to the floor. “This is kind of a new day,” Feinstein concluded later, as the chamber moved to a final vote. “A way to pass a complicated, somewhat technical bill.”

{mosads}–WE SPARED NO EXPENSE: But the overwhelming passage of CISA was only the end of a long day spent on cybersecurity. The Senate worked through the morning and afternoon on a series of amendments, many of which attempted to stem privacy concerns. Leading CISA critic Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and his privacy-focused cohorts made a last-ditch attempt to inject changes favored by the civil liberties and digital rights community. The group struck out on five separate provisions. These amendments, Wyden argued, “seek to achieve the same goal … to reduce the unnecessary sharing of Americans’ private and personal information.” Wyden’s personal offering, which would have injected stricter requirements for companies to remove personal information from their cyber threat data before handing it to the government, fell by a 41-55 vote. Measures from Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) also failed to find a majority, although Heller was just four votes shy. To read our full piece, click here.

–HOLD ONTO YOUR BUTTS: While the privacy and civil liberties coalition was rebuffed on Tuesday, several of their amendments received more votes than anticipated. Wyden and Heller spun the better-than-expected support from both sides of the aisle as a positive. “I was pleased that in the home stretch, visible, active support came from all across the political spectrum,” Wyden told The Hill. “We’ll just keep building.” The Oregon Democrat committed to continuing his crusade as the Senate bill is merged with the House offering. “My sense is we’ve still got a conference, we’ve got a long debate ahead of us,” he added. And he’s not wrong. Burr conceded that shifting House leadership and the technical nature of the bill will also slow down the timeline. “We’re going to move at a very slow pace,” Burr told reporters after the final vote, predicting the two chambers wouldn’t resolve their differences before the new year. To read our full piece, click here.



–IF THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN BREAKS DOWN… The European Union on Monday said it had struck a deal in principle with the United States on a new data-sharing agreement to allow digital information to flow between borders.  

The agreement comes just weeks after the European Court of Justice invalidated a long-standing Safe Harbor data-sharing pact, leaving over 4,000 companies scrambling to find new ways to legally transfer data between the U.S. and EU nations.

“There is agreement on these matters in principle, but we are still discussing how to ensure that these commitments are binding enough to fully meet the requirements of the court,” Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova told European lawmakers.

The two sides are close to concluding talks, Jourova said, adding that an agreement could be finalized in the coming months.

To read our full piece, click here.



–CLEVER GIRL. Siri is going to start handing you some sass if you don’t subscribe to Apple Music. The voice recognition technology has started differentiating between subscribers and non-subscribers. Read on, here.



–2016 GOP CANDIDATES. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) on Tuesday slammed his Republican colleagues who are running for president for skipping a vote to campaign, after his CISA amendment failed by a slim margin.

“Personal ambition should come second to fighting for Americans’ liberties on the Senate floor,” Heller tweeted, adding that “too many presidential/gubernatorial candidates are off campaigning.”

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and David Vitter (La.) each missed the vote on Heller’s amendment. Cruz, Paul and Rubio are running for the Republican presidential nomination, while Vitter is running for governor in his home state.

Heller’s amendment would have bolstered the government’s standard for personal data scrubbing.

To read our full piece, click here.



Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.

The Librarian of Congress on Tuesday clarified that researchers can tinker with software embedded in cars to investigate security flaws without running afoul of copyright law. (The Hill)

CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Navy Adm. Michael Rogers on Tuesday called for a more secure “legal foundation” for cybersecurity. (The Hill)

The head of the CIA was “outraged” by a teenager’s apparent hacking of his personal AOL email account, he said on Tuesday. (The Hill)

German authorities are investigating whether the head of the German Federal Chancellery unit had his laptop infected with malware that has been linked to the NSA. (Ars Technica)

Experts debate whether paying an online ransom is your best bet if you’ve been hacked. (CSO Online)

The Wall Street Journal editorial board joined The Washington Post in supporting CISA. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Tags Al Franken Chris Coons David Vitter Dean Heller Dianne Feinstein Marco Rubio Patrick Leahy Rand Paul Richard Burr Ron Wyden Ted Cruz

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