US House to vote on CISPA cyberthreat bill this week

The controversial information-sharing bill is scheduled for a Thursday vote

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

The committee took several steps to protect privacy during votes on amendments, supporters said. The committee accepted an amendment that prohibits companies from counterattacking, or hacking back, cyberattackers after digital rights groups raised concerns that the bill's language could allow such activity.

Another amendment would limit the private sector's use of any cybersecurity information received to only cybersecurity uses.

Several tech trade groups praised the legislation. "There is a pressing need to bolster America's ability to prevent cyber attacks," said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the BSA, a software trade group, said.

Several amendments made to the bill will protect privacy, Holleyman said in a statement. "BSA firmly believes that increased cybersecurity does not have to come at the expense of privacy or civil liberties," he added. "On the contrary, increased security can enhance citizens' privacy by preventing private information from ending up in the hands of cyber criminals."

A version of CISPA passed the House by a vote of 248-168 a year ago, but the bill failed to advance through the Senate. President Barack Obama, citing privacy concerns, threatened a veto of that version, and the White House National Security Council has raised concerns about this year's version of the bill.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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