House OKs controversial cybersecurity bill

April 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 27 (UPI) -- A cybersecurity bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote despite a veto threat by President Obama.

Besides the White House, the Senate and privacy groups oppose the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which would ease information-sharing about threats, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Republicans and Democrats who have been working on a bigger cybersecurity bill in the Senate issued a statement critical of the House bill. They said it didn't include proposed standards to protect infrastructure, such as power grids and water systems vulnerable to cyberattack, and included nothing about requiring infrastructure owners to strengthen computer defenses.

House bill sponsor Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said his measure, which passed 248-168 Thursday, was achievable because "[big] bills aren't going to pass."

In threatening a presidential veto, the White House said the House bill repealed "important provisions of electronic surveillance law without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality and civil liberties safeguards."

Senate cybersecurity legislation sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Joe Lieberman, Ind-Conn.; John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va.; and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is considered by some business groups and other Republicans to be too intrusive because it would require companies to establish standards to safeguard critical cyberinfrastructure, the Times said.

Proponents of the bill reacted negatively to the threatened Obama veto, The Christian Science Monitor said.

"The White House believes the government ought to control the Internet, government ought to set standards and government ought to take care of everything that's needed for cybersecurity," House Speaker John Boehner said. "They're in a camp all by themselves."

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