This week, the Senate took a critical step to enhance the cybersecurity of our critical networks while protecting Americans’ privacy by voting to approve the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, also known as “CISA,” with overwhelming bipartisan support. This bill would encourage federal agencies and businesses to exchange cyber threat information with one another in order to help stop further cyber attacks in their tracks.
Earlier this week, I took to the Senate floor to talk about why CISA is so important. Every day, foreign governments, hackers, and other bad actors are trying to break into our critical networks. And they’re not only targeting our government networks. They’re also targeting business large and small in Delaware and across the country to steal our ideas, research, and innovations – the intellectual seeds that grow our economy. And as many of us know all too well, they’re targeting our most sensitive, personal information, as well.
Over the past four years, as ranking member and former chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I’ve been working with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, the Administration, academia, industry, and others to develop cybersecurity legislation that would help us stay ahead of the growing threat we face online. Last Congress, we made important progress on this front – but cyber threats continue to evolve, and more must be done. After years of bipartisan communication, collaboration, and compromise, a significant majority of the Senate came together in support of CISA to move our nation ahead of the threat and bolster our defenses in cyberspace.
Over the years of working on this legislation, I have heard that we need to choose between strong cyber security defenses and protection of our personal privacy. I believe this is a false choice – and I believe that CISA is proof of that. This bill strikes a delicate balance between protecting privacy and ensuring that the private sector and federal government can share critical cyber threat data with one another. I worked tirelessly to add a provision to the bill that would enable the Department of Homeland Security, a civilian agency better equipped than others to properly handle sensitive personal information, to wipe away the cyber threat information it receives before it’s shared with other agencies or businesses. This provision will ensure that Americans’ personal and private details are protected. In addition, another provision in the bill that I authored would enhance cybersecurity defenses across the federal government by implementing stronger protections and state-of-the-art technologies that will better defend agencies against cyberattacks.
Last year on Election Day, Americans sent Congress a clear message: they want us to work together across the aisle, achieve real results, and take actions to help grow our economy. By coming together and passing CISA, the Senate achieved all three of those things this week. Although we’ve taken a big step forward on cybersecurity, there’s still plenty more work to be done to get this bill to the President’s desk – and I’m looking forward to working with our colleagues in the House to get it there.