US Senate passes cybersecurity bill despite privacy concerns

Ignoring privacy concerns, the US Senate Tuesday passed the cybersecurity bill that is being considered a critical step forward in addressing cyber threats.

Washington: Ignoring privacy concerns, the US Senate Tuesday passed the cybersecurity bill that is being considered a critical step forward in addressing cyber threats and ensuring tools are in place to deter future cyber-attacks.

The Senate passed the bill by 74-21 votes and now the bill heads for reconciliation with the earlier-passed House cybersecurity bill. The proponents of the bill said will help prevent cyberattacks by facilitating a common awareness in the cyber realm.

"I have directed an aggressive timetable for improving our federal cybersecurity in particular, and have made cybersecurity a top priority for DHS, alongside our other vital missions," Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said.

"Now, with the help of Congress, we will be able to continue our work to protect the cybersecurity of the American public, American businesses large and small, and the federal government, and take that work to the next level," Johnson said.

"By sharing more cyber threat information, we can stay ahead of the threat, bolster our defenses, and better protect our critical networks from the growing threat cyber-attacks pose to our economic security and our national security," said Senator Tom Carper, ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

"This bill also underscores that we can have both strong cybersecurity and robust privacy protections," he said.

Senator Bob Corker, after the passage of the bill, said, "There is no question that our nation faces a growing number of cyber threats. It is critical that we enable the private sector and government to work together to protect Americans from these attacks while also protecting privacy and civil liberties."

"This voluntary information-sharing bill is an important first step, and I am pleased the Senate overwhelmingly supported this bipartisan legislation," Corker said.

Senator Mazie K Hirono said although the privacy provisions should be strengthened further, the voluntary nature of the bill and the cyber threat awareness it would promote are worthy of support.

"Consumers deserve to know how their information is used, and maintaining Americans' privacy remains a key priority as we finalise this legislation," she said.

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