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House to pass new cyber info-sharing bills

After a rash of cyber hacks targeting prominent private-sector companies, the House is expected to pass cybersecurity bills this week that would push corporations to share their threat data with federal investigators.

"Cyber is one of the biggest threats we have," McCaul said Wednesday at a press conference. "Every American is impacted by this whether it be the Target, Home Depot attack to the Anthem attack."

Recent wide-ranging cyber attacks -- from retailers like Target and Home Depot, to health care insurer Anthem, to entertainment titan Sony Pictures -- have compromised trade secrets and the sensitive information of millions of Americans.

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In response, the lower chamber is slated to consider two bills: the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement act, out of the Homeland Security committee, and the Protecting Cyber Networks measure, which passed out of the House Intel committee last month.

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Both bills facilitate information sharing between private sector cyberattack victims and public sector policing agencies like the FBI. The measures also ensure liability protections for the companies, shielding them from civilian lawsuits over privacy concerns so long as the entity follows the proper protocol of securing consumers' personal information. The proposed legislation would ensure that a civilian data hub, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, would be responsible for vetting the cyber information and sharing threat assessments.

Though privacy advocates previously voiced their opposition to what they believe is over-reaching legislation, the two acts are expected to pass easily, especially with the White House throwing their support behind the bipartisan efforts.

"We expect a big bipartisan vote," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, the House Intel Committee's ranking Democrat.

The bills mirror several proposals advanced by the administration in February, when President Obama first announced that "there's only one way to defend America from these cyber-threats -- and that is from government and industry working together."

A similar bill on cyber threat-sharing is expected in the upper chamber for full Senate consideration. Its passage, however, remains up in the air as a bickering Senate grapples with trade legislation and an imminent Iran nuclear deal.