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Automakers push Congress to pass cyber protection bills

The group that lobbies for car manufacturers in Washington is pushing Congress to pass a pair of cyber protection measures they say would protect driver’s information that is store in on-board computers that are becoming common in modern auto models. 

The measures, which are known as the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (H.R. 1560) and the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015 (H.R. 1731) would increase the exchange of hacking data between the government and private sector. 

Companies would receive liability protections when sharing data with civilian federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Treasury Department, under the proposed legislation.

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The Washington, D.C.-based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said Tuesday that lawmakers should quickly approve the cyber protection measures to boost the safety of U.S. drivers’ personal information. 

“Network security remains a top priority for automakers from the vehicle’s design phase to its rollout,” said the group, which represents the 12 largest domestic and international automakers. 

“Automakers partner with governments, cross-sector industries, non-profits, and educational organizations, to implement practices that address potential cyber threats,” the Auto Alliance statement continued. “The Alliance believes that voluntary threat-sharing legislation will help strengthen cybersecurity by helping to counter constantly changing cyber threats.  In fact, automakers are already moving forward with similar efforts by developing an auto industry sharing forum.” 

The cyber bills are expected to win easy passage this week in the House, and the measure was endorsed by the White House on Monday in an effort to sway skeptical senators to support the bill. 

The Auto Alliance said the measures are important because they “will enable sharing threat information while protecting contributors from frivolous lawsuits.  

“This structure will help maximize participation, which increases our nation’s ability to prevent and respond to cyber attacks,” the group said. 

-Cory Bennett contributed to this report.