Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 8:51 pm | Fair 51º


Tom Donohue: Public, Private Sectors Must Be Partners in Cybercrime Prevention

Amid a contentious national election, many voters are headed to the polls convinced that Washington is defined by deep divisions, intractable gridlock and bitter partisanship. They don’t have a lot of confidence that our lawmakers can set aside differences and get things done.

That’s often the case, but not always, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce saw last week at its third annual Cybersecurity Summit.

Two of the country’s most senior senators from opposing parties shared a stage to urge passage of a bill they wrote together to secure our nation’s cybersecurity. It was a strong reminder that we still have major challenges to address. And it signaled that we can actually do it!

When it comes to cybersecurity, Americans want action. A recent Gallup poll found that people are more concerned about cyber theft and hacking than any other kind of crime. A whopping 69 percent of Americans are worried that their credit card information will be stolen. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, given the raft of data breaches at some of our nation’s top retailers.

Cybercrimes affecting consumer and financial data are only part of a vast and complex problem. Cyberattacks threaten public safety and infrastructure, classified information, intellectual property and trade secrets, and business and government networks, posing a significant risk to both our national and economic security.

To help combat cyberattacks, Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Dianne Feinstein authored the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 (CISA), legislation that would improve the exchange of information between business and government. The bill would give companies access to up-to-the minute and actionable intelligence on cyber threats that is only available to the government. It would also give businesses the opportunity to voluntarily share cyber threat data with the government and industry partners without fear of frivolous lawsuits. Further, the bill would enhance the protection of personal data online and includes oversight provisions to guard individuals’ privacy and civil liberties.

Recognizing that the public and private sectors must partner in cybersecurity efforts, the Chamber of Commerce and key industry stakeholders strongly support CISA. It has achieved bipartisan approval in the Senate Intelligence Committee. Now our leaders in the Senate must bring it to the floor for a vote.

Several of our nation’s leaders have signaled that they want to get down to business after the elections. Here’s a great place to start. By moving forward on CISA, they can address a national challenge, respond to public concern and show that they can still get things done.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

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