CISPA Will Improve U.S. Cybersecurity

Apr 18, 2012

Crossposted from U.S. News and World Report.

The U.S. House of Representatives will have an opportunity next week to pass a critically important cybersecurity bill. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523) is sponsored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, and Ranking Member C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, a Democrat from Maryland. This bill is supported by more than 100 of their colleagues.

The business community has embraced H.R. 3523 because it seeks to answer a basic question—How can lawmakers help companies protect their computers and networks against global cybersecurity threats? This bill would make limited and practical changes to policy. It would establish an information-sharing framework that is voluntary and imposes no new federal mandates on private citizens or business entities.

The Rogers-Ruppersberger bill would guard Americans' privacy by prohibiting the government from forcing private companies to hand over personal information while encouraging companies to anonymize the information that they do share with appropriate entities.

Most important, the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill would address head-on the needs of companies to receive targeted information to protect their computer networks and customers' personal data. Business owners and managers need timely and actionable information so that they can beat back advanced and sophisticated attacks coming from organized criminal gangs and foreign governments. Likewise, voluntary information-sharing with federal partners, such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, would improve the government's ability to protect itself and the business community against foreign cyberthreats.

H.R. 3523 would help tip the scales in businesses' favor against online raiders who seek to steal private information or potentially disrupt infrastructure networks.

In addition, the bill would give businesses certainty that cybersecurity information shared with the government would be provided safe harbor and not lead to frivolous lawsuits, among other protections.

Reps. Rogers and Ruppersberger deserve praise for crafting their bill in a bipartisan and open manner. H.R. 3523 is a positive, nonregulatory bill that would help the nation chart a path forward on cybersecurity. In short, we need to get serious and pass the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill.

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