The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act on Thursday. (Source: U.S. House of Representatives)
WASHINGTON (RNN) - The House of Representatives passed a contentious cyber security bill despite objections from the White House and a number of civil rights and privacy organizations.
The House passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act on Thursday by a vote of 248 to 168, divided mostly along party lines.
The bill allows companies to share user information with the federal government in the interest of protecting both parties from potential cyber attacks. Companies would not have to tell users that their information is being shared, and there is little people can do if they feel their information had been shared unfairly.
Supporters say the bill helps protect companies from attacks that could cripple a company's competitiveness.
"Cyber-attacks by hackers and foreign countries like China are a serious threat to American jobs and American privacy," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH. "By listening to private-sector job creators, civil liberties advocates and technology experts, I believe the House put together a strong bill that will help stop cyber-attacks that threaten our economy and our privacy while keeping the internet free from government control."
The bill was drafted by Reps. Mike Rogers, R-MI, and Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, in November 2011.
"One credit card company said that they get attacked for your personal information 300,000 times a day, one company," Rogers said during the bill's open floor debate Thursday. "One company in particular estimated they lost 20,000 good paying manufacturing jobs for Americans because countries like China stole their intellectual property and illegally competed against them in the marketplace."
However, many organizations and some House members took issue with the bill's broad language.
"In its current form, this legislation would allow companies to share personal information about consumers with other companies, even if that information has nothing to do with cyber-security."
The White House also has voice opposition to the bill.
In a statement from the Office of Management and Budget on April 25, the White House said the bill would repeal "important provisions of electronic surveillance law without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality and civil liberties safeguards."
The office also said the bill "treats domestic cyber-security as an intelligence activity and thus, significantly departs from longstanding efforts to treat the internet and cyberspace as civilian spheres."
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