WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called on his Senate colleagues to continue to work together towards passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (S. 754). This afternoon, Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) offered the Burr-Feinstein amendment #2716 as a substitute to S. 754. The substitute includes modified language of two amendments filed by Sen. Carper that would strengthen all federal agencies’ cyber defenses and give the Department of Homeland Security clearer authorities to share cyber threat information while protecting privacy.
“Cyber threats represent some of the most dangerous and immediate threats that Americans face every day. Given the increasing number – and severity — of attacks on our federal agencies and private businesses large and small, there is no doubt that we must strive to strengthen our cybersecurity defenses. One way to do that is to improve the ability to share information about the threats coming from cyberspace between and among the private sector and the federal government. That’s why the work we are doing on the Senate floor this week is so important.
“As the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I have been closely following cybersecurity, particularly this cybersecurity information sharing bill for years. I would like to commend Senators Burr and Feinstein and their staffs for their leadership and tireless efforts to bring their cybersecurity information sharing bill to the floor. While we do not agree with everything in this legislation, I greatly appreciate the compromises that have been made to make the bill stronger.
“The compromises made in the substitute amendment include my measure to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security can apply privacy protections to cyber threat data as it sends information to other agencies. This privacy ‘scrub’ would better protect sensitive personal information without slowing the sharing of cyber threat information. Another compromise in the package would authorize the deployment and adoption of the Department’s cyber intrusion and detection system known as EINSTEIN. This provision, which is based on an amendment I filed with Senator Johnson, would also require that all federal agencies implement stronger protections and state-of-the-art technologies to defend against cyberattacks.
“Improving our cyber security practices must remain one of the top priorities for Congress and the Administration. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill across the finish line. Let’s seize this opportunity, pass this bill, and continue to do all that we can to keep ahead of the growing cyber threat.”
The Senate’s consideration of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 builds on the cybersecurity efforts of last Congress. During the 113th Congress, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee authored several cybersecurity bills, which the president signed into law in December. Those include the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (P.L. 113-283) to update the Federal Information Security Management Act, the National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-282) authorizing the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center at the Department of Homeland Security for information sharing, and two bills to improve the federal cybersecurity workforce — the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act (P.L. 113-246) and the Border Patrol Pay Reform Act (P.L. 113-277) (which contains provisions from the DHS Cybersecurity Workforce Recruitment and Retention Act of 2014).