Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), author of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act cybersecurity bill, said Thursday that the bill's "information sharing" aspect does not seek to share citizens' information with the government.
"Our NSA is not monitoring the Internet here in the United States," he said at a cybersecurity briefing in Washington, D.C. "I can guarantee you that."
When it was originally introduced in November 2011, CISPA would have allowed companies to pass information to the National Security Agency. The bill was reintroduced this February. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which strongly opposes the bill, CISPA would have allowed companies to "hand 'cyber threat information' to any government agency with or without limitations on what agency can receive the information."
In February 2012, Sen. John McCain suggested that any cybersecurity bill would be ineffective unless the NSA was closely involved. McCain said the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command are the "only institutions currently capable of [protecting the Internet]."
pRogers said the aspect of the bill that allows the government to share classified data relating to "cyberthreats" with companies would have specific language to assuage Internet users' privacy concerns.p
"It's good to share. All we're talking about doing is taking malicious source code and sharing that with [companies] in a classified way," he said. "We want to make sure we meet the level of privacy concerns. We're working on writing very direct language to reiterate that."
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who coauthored the Patriot Act under President George W. Bush, said Thursday that the information-sharing aspect of CISPA is more necessary than ever because the "intensity and seriousness of [cyberattacks] have increased."
"How can you deal with this without information sharing? When the adversary is able to use the same tool or technique over and over again with different targets, they get more bang for their buck," he said.
Rogers reintroduced CISPA in February, which passed the House of Representatives last year but failed in the Senate. Rogers said the bill is designed to protect companies from getting their intellectual property—including blueprints, plans and patents—stolen by foreign countries, especially China.
The Chinese government is stealing American ideas to "repurpose [them] and compete in the international market with no consequence," Rogers said. "And it's working exceptionally well."
"We are in a cyberwar and we're losing every single day."