With amendments that could have held up the bill voted down by large majorities, the Senate Tuesday passed the bipartisan Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.
The bill supported by cable operators and other ISPs, would make it easier for companies to share cyber threat information with government and vice versa, including providing liability protections from lawsuits if sensitive personal information was inadvertently shared. The sharing is voluntary, so the liability protection is a way to incentivize participation.
The vote was 74 to 21.
The bill must now be conference with a House version that passed earlier this year.
The legislation had the support of the Chamber of Commerce, the Obama Administration, banks, credit card companies, and most retailers, according to Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) who pushed for passage of the bill.
"Today the Senate took an important bipartisan step toward safeguarding consumers, securing the nation’s critical infrastructure and economy, and protecting our Internet networks," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell. " We commend the Senate on passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S. 754), which removes barriers to real-time sharing of cyber threat indicators to improve our cyber defenses. Every day cyber attacks threaten our nation’s economy, security and consumers. The cable industry has taken significant steps to protect our networks and customers, but with this growing threat, we are pleased to see Congressional action that will facilitate more effective sharing, while at the same time protecting Americans’ privacy and civil liberties."
Companies can share with the Department of Homeland Security or, in the case of regulated entities like cable ops, with the FCC (or their relevant oversight authority).