December 18, 2015

WASHINGTON – The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice of the tech sector, commends lawmakers for including a bipartisan cybersecurity threat information sharing component, the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Omnibus) unveiled Wednesday. ITI strongly believes effective, voluntary sharing of information regarding cyber threats is an integral component of improving our cybersecurity ecosystem, and the Act helps achieve that goal while also placing responsible guidelines on how such information is shared.

“Today marks an important step forward in enhancing the ability of our companies to more efficiently address cybersecurity threats from adversaries by promoting the voluntary sharing of relevant, actionable cyber threat information,” said ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield. “While only one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle, the enhanced ability to voluntarily share timely cybersecurity threat information, while ensuring privacy is protected and providing targeted liability protections to encourage participation, is an important and invaluable tool in a world of constantly changing cyberspace threats. This tool will allow our companies and the federal government to more effectively respond to attacks and protect and defend their networks, which is essential to cybersecurity.”

The result of a long negotiations process, Garfield noted that Congress moved three information sharing bills in the wake of high profile cyberattacks this year, with the tech industry encouraging lawmakers to make progress in recent weeks on a consensus bill that could be passed and sent to the President’s desk. After reviewing the text included in the Omnibus, ITI is pleased that lawmakers recognized the importance of establishing a civilian portal as the primary conduit for cyber threat information sharing with the federal government. ITI has consistently advocated for a civilian portal as a critical component for effective and efficient voluntary information sharing in order to increase oversight and transparency to better address privacy concerns.

“Should an alternative portal become necessary outside of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we will look to the Administration to designate another civilian agency to take the place of DHS,” Garfield said. “This has been a multi-year process in which we have worked with legislators to find balance on the parameters of an effective, voluntary cybersecurity threat information sharing system that recognizes the need for both security and privacy as companies and the government seek to protect and defend networks.”

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Public Policy Tags: Cybersecurity