On June 17, 2014, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) released a draft bill entitled, The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014. Given the increasing threats to our economy, security and privacy from cyberattacks, Congress is trying to pass a new law that would authorize and provide liability protection for private sector companies to protect their information systems and share specific cyberthreat indicators with each other and with the government.
The punishing disclosures by Edward Snowden notwithstanding, the government will continue to gather data to reduce the risk of terrorist threats, including those related to cybersecurity. Information-sharing legislation has been a goal of Congress for some time and this draft bill is the latest attempt by lawmakers to establish clear legal authority and privacy protections so government and industry can share potentially sensitive and proprietary information about cyberattacks. On the other hand, privacy advocates are concerned that the legislation being considered is overly broad; they contend that the congressional bills are an overreaction that potentially exposes Americans' personal information to unnecessary government surveillance and law enforcement. When the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of this legislation, H.R. 624 The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act in April 2013, the White House alone received over 100,000 responses.
Interest in this issue is widespread: Officials in the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal law enforcement agencies are focused on this effort, and stakeholders from a variety of industries, including telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing, retail, utilities and information technology, are involved in this process. Civil liberty groups and privacy advocates are weighing in as well.
Faegre Baker Daniels and FaegreBD Consulting have formed a team to address the privacy, cyber and data security legislation that continues to be at the top of minds of lawmakers and regulators in Washington, D.C.