WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- The House of Representatives is expected to pass a cybersecurity bill on Wednesday that will make private companies share their computer networks and records with cybercrime investigators.
The National Cybersecurity Protection Act passed unanimously last month in the House Intelligence Committee. The bill has been years in the making -- a bipartisan effort in 2012 failed twice over concerns that the private sector would be too burdened with the legislation.
The current bill is expected to pass with bipartisan support. It will increase liability protections for the private sector, which fears lawsuits for sharing customer information.
"I very much present this as...one that accomplishes that balance of facilitating the sharing of cyber information, cyber threat indicators, to make our personal and business information safer on the networks, but at the same time very much ensuring that people's privacy is protected in the process," Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, who helped author the bill, said.
President Barack Obama's administration supports the passage of the bill, but states that "improvements to the bill are needed to ensure that its liability protections are appropriately targeted to encourage responsible cybersecurity practices," adding that the bill's liability protections may "remove incentives for companies to protect their customers' personal information."
"We expect a big bipartisan vote," Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., said. The bill includes measures Obama proposed in January.
Recent data breaches have pushed Congress into action. In February, the Chinese government was linked to a hack of health insurance company Anthem. In that breach, a U.S. cyber security firm concluded the malware used was identical to the code used against a small U.S. defense contractor. The malware originated from China, according to the FBI.
The hack on the health insurance giant involved the stealing of personal data, including Social Security numbers of about 80 million Anthem members and employees.