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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 31 October, 2014

US House passes cyber-security bill to allow access to private data

Us President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it lands on his desk.

A cyber security analyst looks at code
A cyber security analyst looks at code
Image: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill/File photo

US HOUSE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS have expressed about sending a cybersecurity bill to President Barack Obama this year despite significant disagreements with the Senate and the White House.

The House delivered a strong bipartisan vote this week for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act despite a White House veto threat.

The bill would encourage companies and the federal government to share information collected on the Internet to help prevent electronic attacks from cybercriminals, foreign governments and terrorists.

The vote was 248-168, with 42 Democrats joining 206 Republicans in backing the measure.

The House also approved three other less-divisive cyber-related bills, including one on Friday that improves coordination between the private and public sectors on research and development on cybersecurity. The vote was 395-10.

In the Senate, several Democrats and Republicans prefer a bill that would give the Homeland Security Department the primary role in overseeing domestic cybersecurity and the authority to set security standards. The House bill does not give Homeland Security that authority. The White House favors the Senate measure, too.

The House bill also would impose no new rules on businesses, a Republican imperative.

The Senate could act as early as next month on legislation, though it’s uncertain what would emerge in light of internal Senate disputes. House members hope disagreements on a final bill could be settled by a House-Senate conference committee, if not earlier.

Congressional leaders are determined to get a cybersecurity bill completed this election year. More than 10 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, lawmakers describe it as an initial step to deal with an evolving threat in the Internet age.

The House bill would allow the government to relay cyber threat information to a company to prevent attacks from Russia or China. In the private sector, corporations could alert the government and provide data that could stop an attack intended to disrupt the country’s water supply or take down the banking system.

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