WASHINGTON - The House ignored Obama administration objections Thursday and approved legislation that encourages voluntary action by corporations to help stop electronic attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure and private companies.
On a bipartisan vote of 248-168, the GOP-controlled House backed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which would encourage companies and the federal government to share information collected on the Internet to prevent electronic attacks from cybercriminals, foreign governments and terrorists.
"This is the last bastion of things we need to do to protect this country," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said after more than five hours of debate.
More than 10 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, proponents cast the bill as an initial step to deal with an evolving threat of the Internet age.
The information sharing would be voluntary to avoid imposing new regulations on businesses, an imperative for Republicans.
The legislation would allow the government to relay cyberthreat information to a company to prevent attacks from Russia or China. In the private sector, corporations could alert the government and provide data that could stop an attack intended to disrupt the country's water supply or take down the banking system.
The Obama administration has threatened a veto of the House bill, preferring a Senate measure that would give the Homeland Security Department the primary role in overseeing domestic cybersecurity and the authority to set security standards.
The Senate bill remains stalled. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the administration's approach is misguided.
"The White House believes the government ought to control the Internet, government ought to set standards and government ought to take care of everything that's needed for cybersecurity," Boehner told reporters at his weekly news conference.
"They're in a camp all by themselves."
Several Republicans and Democrats warned of potential government spying on its citizens with the help of employers.
by Donna Cassata - Apr. 26, 2012 11:24 PM Associated Press
House approves cybersecurity bill
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