The Senate this week passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill that encourages the sharing of information about cyber threats in an effort to stop cyber attacks. The legislation “better secures Americans’ private information from foreign hackers,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who sponsored the bill with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “This bill will allow companies and the government to voluntarily share information about cyber threats and the defensive measures they can implement to protect their networks,” Feinstein said, stressing that the sponsors “took every step we could to satisfy privacy concerns.” The bill gives authority and liability protection to private companies so they can share cyber threat information with other companies and the government, according to a summary of the legislation. It also allows private companies to use defensive measures for cybersecurity purposes, and directs the federal government to increase sharing of information about cyber threats. It includes a provision that allows the US to prosecute cyber criminals who operate overseas but profit from hacks of Americans’ financial information. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), one of the bill’s cosponsors, said sharing cyber threat information means “we can stay ahead of the threat, bolster our defenses, and better protect our critical networks.” The bill passed the Senate on Oct. 27 by a vote of 74 to 21.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.