• House Passes Cybersecurity Bill
  • April 27, 2015
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • On Wednesday, the House passed major legislation intended to improve the nation's defenses against cyberattacks. The legislation, which passed by a vote of 307 to 116, is intended to limit the type of attacks like those against Sony Pictures a few months ago that dominated the news.

    The bill would provide companies with expanded legal liability protections if they choose to voluntarily share certain kinds of digital data through a government "cyber portal."

    The measure is supported by a wide array of business and financial interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But privacy advocates continue to insist that the info-sharing regime is too broad and could strengthen the National Security Agency's spying capabilities.

    To combat those fears, the bill's authors included numerous sections that explicitly state that the law prohibits the use of any data collected for government surveillance. Despite those assurances, privacy advocates contend that the pooled data, which must be shared with other government agencies— including the NSA—still could be used for a variety of law-enforcement purposes not related to cybersecurity.

    Since the Sony breach, which U.S. officials publicly blamed on North Korea, President Obama has declared cyberattacks a "national emergency" and signed an executive order that makes it easier for the government to impose sanctions against foreign hackers. The administration also announced in February that it would create the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to help "connect the dots" among potential cyberthreats facing the U.S.