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Cybersecurity bill passes US House subcommittee

A cybersecurity bill that would protect Internet service providers from liability when reporting a potential threat has been...

A cybersecurity bill that would protect Internet service providers from liability when reporting a potential threat has been approved by a subcommittee in the US House of Representatives.

The Cyber Security and Enhancement Act of 2001 (HR-3482), introduced in December by Texas Republican Representative Lamar Smith, passed the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, according to a spokesman for Smith. The bill proposes freeing ISPs from liability when they report suspected cybercrime, such as an e-mailed bomb threat that crosses their network, assuming they act in good faith. It also calls for strengthened penalties for cybercrime and increased funding for a government-run centre to detect security threats.

"Until we secure our cyber infrastructure, a few keystrokes and an Internet connection is all one needs to disable the economy or endanger lives," Smith, who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime, said. "We cannot afford to let our technology be our weakness," he added.

The bill has not been scheduled for a vote by the full Judiciary committee yet, although Smith's spokesman said he expects the full committee to consider it in the coming weeks.

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