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02 December 2011, 12:34

Plans to strengthen cybersecurity in the US

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US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence seal On Thursday, the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee discussed a bill that includes liability exemption for businesses that provide government authorities with information on attacks on their network or on weak points in their IT systems. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection ActPDF is a bipartisan initiative headed by Republican Mike Rogers and Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger. Rogers said that the law is intended to provide a basis for better cooperation on cybersecurity between government and businesses.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) praised the bill for avoiding an extensive regulatory system. Civil rights organisations, on the other hand, are quite critical of the initiative. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) worries that it goes against all current data protection laws and that the government could compile thorough profiles on its citizens' internet usage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is concerned that the vague wording of the text could allow the government to secretly spread spyware.

The Obama administration, which made its own attempt at improving cybersecurity in the spring, also believes that the privacy of US citizens needs to be better protected. A spokeswoman for President Obama told the Washington Post that "the inclusion of generous liability and antitrust protections could limit the government's ability to protect citizens [from data theft] and hold corporations accountable.

(Stefan Krempl / sno)

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