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December 17, 2015

Thompson Statement on the Cybersecurity Act of 2015

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement on the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, legislation included in the omnibus spending bill to be considered tomorrow:

“The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 has the potential to usher in a new chapter in our Nation’s effort to address cyber threats. It seeks to create a safe space for companies who have been reluctant to share information about cyber threats on their networks with the Federal government because of fear of liability or regulation. This legislation expressly rejects past legislative proposals that would have granted broad liability protection to companies that shared cyber threat information with the NSA. Instead, to receive liability protection, companies must share timely threat information with the Department of Homeland Security.”

“I would note that the privacy provisions in the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 are less detailed and prescriptive than the legislation we advanced out of the Homeland Security Committee (H.R. 1731). However, it does give significant attention to privacy concerns by solidifying DHS’ civilian role in the cyber information sharing space and tasking DHS and the Justice Department to work together to develop privacy guidelines for this new program. Under this legislation, the onus for establishing and enforcing strong and effective privacy requirements is put squarely on the President. Additionally, substantial oversight mechanisms are built into the program to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the program and privacy safeguards.”

“Finally, I am pleased that the liability protection provision is more narrowly tailored to cover just the act of sharing and receiving cyber threat information with DHS. I am also pleased that the legislation includes language advanced by this Committee to enhance the protection of Federal networks, enhance the Federal cyber workforce, and bolster preparedness and response to cyber attacks.”

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978