Controversial Cybersecurity Bill Known As CISA Advances Out Of Senate Committee

July 9, 2014

Gregory McNeal

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted Tuesday to approve a controversial cybersecurity bill known as the Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA). The bill is intended to help companies and the government thwart hackers and other cyber-intrusions. The bill passed by a 12-3 vote, moving it one step closer to a floor debate.

Lawmakers have been struggling for years to move cybersecurity legislation. Civil liberties advocates have opposed CISA, arguing that it fails to adequately shield Americans’ privacy. Proponents of the bill say it will help stop attacks by encouraging data-sharing between businesses and the government. The bill achieves data-sharing by protecting businesses from lawsuits if they voluntarily disclose cyberthreat details for the purpose of assisting government or industry partners.

Last year a similar cybersecurity bill, the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the House, but it was met with substantial opposition over a perceived lack of privacy protections. Opponents of CISA are already drawing comparisons between it and CISPA.

According to a statement released by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), CISA includes the following features: