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Effective Information Sharing Legislation Needed to Combat Cyber Attacks

It’s not hard today to find news accounts of how America’s digital networks are under siege.  Cyber criminals are at work, hoping to extract valuable data from consumers, businesses, and government organizations and to shut down or disrupt our critical infrastructure. One way to combat these attacks is allowing businesses and the government to share information about possible cyber threats in order to more effectively respond.  Unfortunately, current legal barriers discourage collaboration, putting more consumer data and our most critical infrastructure in harm’s way.

To spur action on this front, I sent a letter on behalf of BSA | The Software Alliance to Senate leadership, encouraging them to take up cyber threat information sharing legislation that will help both businesses and government combat cyber threats.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (S.754), introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), has bipartisan support and deserves a robust debate before the full Senate. The Senate Intelligence Committee favorably reported the bill out of committee in April, and the House of Representatives has already taken necessary steps by overwhelmingly passing measures with similar goals: the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (HR 1560) and the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act (HR 1731). The Senate has a valuable opportunity to take action on this key legislation now.

Enacting effective cyber threat information sharing legislation will allow public- and private-sector entities to voluntarily share valuable threat data, best practices, and vulnerabilities while protecting consumer privacy. BSA previously outlined six key tenets of effective information sharing legislation.  Increased situational awareness will enhance the ability of businesses, consumers, and operators of critical infrastructure to better defend themselves against attacks and intrusions.

Cybersecurity threats change on a daily basis, and BSA member companies are at the forefront of these battles. BSA urges the Senate to pass legislation that gives a helping hand to these companies and provides government necessary tools in the continuing fight against cyber crime.

Victoria Espinel

Author:

Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance and President of Software.org: the BSA Foundation, is a respected authority on the intersection of technology innovation, global markets and public policy. She leads strategic efforts that help shape the technology landscape in 60 countries through work in BSA’s 10 global offices.

Prior to heading BSA | The Software Alliance, Espinel served for a decade in the White House, for both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Espinel advised President Obama on pivotal IP issues in her role as the first US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. She was the chief US trade negotiator on IP innovation as the nation’s first Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation. She has also served as a professor of international trade and intellectual property at the George Mason School of Law.

Espinel is a founding and ongoing co-sponsor of Girls Who Code’s Washington, DC, summer immersion program, which empowers young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. She speaks at conferences around the world to build visibility for the amazing things people can do with software, and encourages businesses, governments, and the public to support a policy environment that will enable even more software breakthroughs.

Espinel chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), the principal advisory group for the US government on international trade. She holds an LLM from the London School of Economics, a JD from Georgetown University Law School, and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

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