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CISA, which passed by a vote of 74-21, grants legal immunity to private companies who share cyber threat information with the Department of Homeland Security. The House passed two versions of the law earlier this year, but privacy advocates had been pressing for the Senate to either reject the bill entirely or pass amendments tightening controls over personally identifiable information that might get swept up and sent to the government.

One Senator has senator called it a “surveillance bill”.

CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S. 754), will allow private companies to share cyber-threat data with the federal government, including personal user data, in an effort to prevent cyber attacks, such as those on the scale of Target, Home Depot, and Sony. Companies that share data with federal agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), will be given legal and liability protections from lawsuits relating to data sharing.

  • The bill passed by 74-21. The bill will now go to conference with the House where it will be reconciled with two other measures.
  • Privacy and rights groups criticized the bill’s passing in the wake of the vote. Computer security engineers were against it. Academics were against it. Technology companies, including some of Silicon Valley’s biggest like Twitter and Salesforce, were against it. Apple, Dropbox, Reddit, Twitter, Wikimedia Foundation (which owns Wikipedia), and Yelp, have said they oppose the bill. A trade group representing Facebook, Google, and others.

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