?April 17, 2013
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, strongly supports H.R. 624, the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act” (CISPA), and opposes any amendments that would weaken this important legislation.
The bill would take an important step towards strengthening America’s security by removing legal hurdles that currently prevent the private sector and government from rapidly sharing cyber threat information. The Chamber has consistently supported legislation that would put timely, reliable, and actionable information into the hands of business owners and operators so that they can better protect their systems and assets against nefarious actors, including rogue individuals, organized criminals, and groups carrying out state-sponsored attacks. H.R. 624 supports existing information-sharing and analysis organizations, and incorporates lessons learned from pilot programs and exercises undertaken by critical infrastructure sectors. These programs and exercises offer complementary, demonstrated models for enabling the government to share cyber threat intelligence with the private sector cyber risk profile while protecting privacy and civil liberties.
In addition, H.R. 624 would provide needed legal certainty that threat and vulnerability information voluntarily shared with the government would be granted safe harbor against the risk of frivolous lawsuits, would be exempt from public disclosure, and could not be used by officials to regulate other activities. The legislation would also provide an exemption from antitrust laws, to facilitate greater exchange of information among private entities in order to help prevent, investigate, and mitigate threats to cybersecurity.
H.R. 624, sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, was reported out of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee last week by a vote of 18 to 2. Business leaders have made passing a smart and effective information-sharing bill a top legislative priority because they believe it is the best tool available to help the United States detect and respond to highly sophisticated digital attacks. If an information-sharing bill is to truly strengthen America’s cybersecurity, the technical aspects—the so-called ones and zeros—of a cyber attack must be disclosed in real time.
?The Chamber opposes an amendment by Rep. Conyers, Schakowsky, Jackson Lee, Johnson, and Holt that would impair this bill. As currently drafted, the amendment would weaken a core purpose of H.R. 624 by excluding “decisions made for cybersecurity purposes” from the liability exemption section of the bill.
The Chamber applauds the House for passing on Tuesday three information- security measures. Two bills—H.R. 756 and H.R. 967—would improve national efforts devoted to cybersecurity research and development. The third, H.R. 1163, would update the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), enabling the government to proactively counter risks based on continuous monitoring of civilian government networks and system activity.
Our organization is disappointed that the administration has threatened to veto H.R. 624. The legislation is a work in progress. Reps. Rogers and Ruppersberger and their staffs have done an extraordinary job engaging a variety of stakeholders—including the White House and privacy groups—to craft a bill that would increase America’s security and protect individuals’ civil liberties. The lawmakers have negotiated nearly 20 privacy- enhancing changes to H.R. 624 since it was first introduced in 2011, and more are expected to be considered on the House floor.
At a time when the Administration is seeking industry support for developing and implementing the cybersecurity framework provided by the recently released Executive Order on cybersecurity, the Chamber believes passage H.R. 624 would put wind behind the sails of the presidential order.
The Chamber supports H.R. 624 and opposes weakening amendments. The Chamber may include votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 624 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)