Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said today that the Senate is "very close" to introducing legislation that would encourage the private sector to share information with federal agencies. A counterpart to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that passed the House in April of this year, the as-of-yet unnamed bill would also provide blanket immunity to corporations that share data so they wouldn't have to worry about getting sued by customers.
Chambliss also said that a "government portal" would handle the flow of information, and that the National Security Agency would have to be heavily involved because "they're the experts." The main duties of that portal would fall under Homeland Security, he claims.
The bill is being co-authored with Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has strongly defended the information gathering techniques of the NSA - as revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Both are also reportedly working very closely with CISPA co-authors Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). Chambliss predicts that - if the bill can pass the Senate - then it can be reconciled with CISPA.
Chambliss also said that the Edward Snowden leaks about wide-scale information gathered on America citizens by the NSA brought any kind of cybersecurity legislation to a grinding halt.
"If we had not been interrupted by the NSA revelations by Mr. Snowden and the need for [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] reform, I think we probably would have been there because that was next on our plate."
He also said that Snowden's leaks have undermined trust in the NSA, and that trust must be "restored."
Source: The Hill