U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence who has called on Congress to pass effective cybersecurity legislation, released the following statement today after the Committee approved the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) by a vote of 12-3.
"For years the United States has been taking punches from cyber criminals across the globe intent on stealing intellectual property -- essentially our ideas -- and Americans in manufacturing states like Maine are paying the price. This bill is our counterpunch," Senator King said. "But this isn't a fight the government can take on alone, so we've incentivized improved information sharing with American businesses in order to more rapidly identify and respond to cyber threats. Working together, the public and private sectors can defend American ideas and processes, as well as critical infrastructure, and give ourselves a leg up on the new digital battlefield while also safeguarding important privacy protections. I look forward to working to continue to strengthen the bill, and I call on the full Senate to consider this critical legislation, along with any amendments to improve upon it, as soon as possible."
The bill removes legal barriers for companies to share, receive, and use cyber threat information and cyber countermeasures (defensive measures) on a purely voluntary basis. It also provides liability protection for the sharing of cyber information for cybersecurity purposes and provides protections to ensure that sharing of cyber information does not allow for privacy intrusions. Specifically, the bill requires companies to remove personally identifiable information from cyber threat information before sharing.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, Senator King has repeatedly voiced his concern about the danger of a cyber-attack or other destructive computer network exploitation activities that could cause damage to our national and economic security, including threats to the U.S. energy grid, financial services, or health sectors. In March, Senator King wrote to Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss urging them to advance cybersecurity legislation in the committee, and in May, he applauded an announcement from Attorney General Eric Holder that a U.S. Grand Jury has charged members of the Chinese military with conducting economic cyber-espionage against American companies.