Defending the Judeo-Christian Heritage, limited government, and the American Constitution
Thursday February 11th 2016

House Passes Tough Cyber Espionage Legislation

While the House voted for the new cyber law -- and the Senate is expected to do the same -- President Obama is threatening to veto the bill. Photo credit: Police Times Magazine


Economic cyber spies may have a more difficult task of stealing U.S. business plans, as well as research and development data, since the U.S. House of Representatives at least took the first step by passing a cybersecurity bill last Friday that will help private sector businesses more effectively protect themselves from dangerous cyber predators.

The foreign intelligence threat within the United States is far more complex than it has ever been historically. The threat is increasingly asymmetrical insofar as it comes not only from traditional foreign intelligence services but also from nontraditional, non-state actors who operate from decentralized organizations, experts say.

Intelligence collection is no longer limited to classified national defense information but now includes targeting of the elements of national power, including our national economic interests. Moreover, foreign intelligence tradecraft is increasingly sophisticated and takes full advantage of advances in communications security and the general openness of US society, according to security management experts.

In a show of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives passed the Cyber Information Sharing & Protection Act by a vote of 248 to 168.  The bill gives the federal government new authority to share classified cyber threat information with approved American companies and knocks down barriers to cyber threat information sharing.

With strong provisions built in to keep individual American’s private information private, the bill allows U.S. businesses to better protect their own networks and their corporate customers from hackers looking to steal intellectual property, according to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

U.S. companies and trade associations anxious to better protect their networks and their customers lined up in droves in a show of strong support for this bill, including Facebook, the US Chamber of Commerce, Boeing, financial trade associations, AT&T, utilities groups, Intel, tech associations, and many others, according to the committee chairman.

“We can’t stand by and do nothing as U.S. companies are hemorrhaging from the cyber looting coming from nation states like China and Russia,” Chairman Rogers said.  “America will be a little safer and our economy better protected from foreign cyber predators with this legislation.  I commend the bipartisan effort on this bill.  I encourage the Senate to take up the bill soon so we can move it to the President’s desk.”

“One credit card company said that they get attacked for your personal information 300,000 times a day, one company,” Chairman Rogers said during the open floor debate of the bill.  “One company in particular estimated they lost 20,000 good paying manufacturing jobs for Americans because countries like China stole their intellectual property and illegally competed against them in the market place,” Rogers said.

“This is not just a victory on the House floor. This is victory for America. Our nation is one step closer to making a real difference protecting our country from a catastrophic cyber attack. This shows what can happen when Democrats and Republicans work together for the good of our country. This robust, open, bipartisan process made a good bill even better. I look forward to seeing it taken up in the Senate,” said Ranking Member C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger.

Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger worked collaboratively for over a year with hundreds of U.S. companies, industry associations, and privacy and civil liberties groups, including the ACLU and the CDT, as the bill was drafted, and through the process of bringing the bill to the House Floor.

By permitting the private sector to expand its own cyber defense efforts and to use classified information to protect its systems and networks, this bill will help create a more robust cybersecurity marketplace with expanded service offerings and jobs.  More importantly, this bill does not contain any new federal spending or impose additional federal regulation or unfunded mandates on the private sector.

Ignoring a veto threat from President Barack Obama, the House approved the bipartisan Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) with 42 Democrats joining the GOP in voting “Yes” while 28 Republicans opposed the legislation.

The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Contact Jim.


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