Massive Year-End Spending Bill Includes Cybersecurity Act

December 16, 2015

A massive year-end spending measure moving through Congress includes a provision that will encourage companies to share cyber threat information with the government while providing them with liability protections for not acting on information received.

The measure, a culmination of several years of effort to pass a cyber bill, brings together three different versions that passed the House and Senate earlier this year with hefty bipartisan support. It was released early Wednesday morning.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 largely hews to the Senate version of the bill, which passed despite concerns about privacy and transparency from some senators and technology companies, such as Apple and Yelp.

But there are some changes.

The bill allows the president to designate an agency other than the civilian Homeland Security Department to act as a portal for sharing cyber threats with the government only if DHS cannot and it is necessary. However, the Defense Department, including its National Security Agency, is specifically excluded from becoming an alternate portal.

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