Bill introduced to encourage public-private information sharing

Bill introduced to encourage public-private information sharing

A bill introduced Monday by Sens. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) would give limited exemption from the Freedom of Information Act and antitrust laws for security information voluntarily shared by companies.

The Critical Infrastructure Information Security Act of 2001 would correct what Bennett called a national security blind spot that discourages companies from sharing information with the government and with other companies. The FOIA exemption would ensure that information about possible threats and risks given to federal agencies remains private. The antitrust exemption would let companies cooperate through industry information sharing and analysis organizations.

The protections are intended to promote analysis of threats to the nation’s critical infrastructure—both physical and electronic—so that timely warnings can be given and effective defenses developed. Poor cooperation between the public and private sectors has limited this kind of analysis, the General Accounting Office said today during a House hearing on cybersecurity.

“Federal agencies have serious and widespread computer security weaknesses,” Joel C. Willemssen, GAO’s managing director of IT issues, told the Government Reform subcommittee on government efficiency, financial management and intergovernmental relations.

Willemssen said a 1997 presidential directive calling for public-private cooperation in protecting critical infrastructure has had limited success. Eight agencies have established liaisons with corresponding industrial sectors and six information sharing and analysis centers have been established. But concerns about antitrust restrictions and public disclosure of proprietary information have hampered data sharing, Willemssen said.

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.

Featured

  • Management
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    Where does the TMF Board go from here?

    With a $1 billion cash infusion, relaxed repayment guidelines and a surge in proposals from federal agencies, questions have been raised about whether the board overseeing the Technology Modernization Fund has been scaled to cope with its newfound popularity.

  • IT Modernization
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    OMB provides key guidance for TMF proposals amid surge in submissions

    Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat details what makes for a winning Technology Modernization Fund proposal as agencies continue to submit major IT projects for potential funding.

Stay Connected