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White House Renews Bid for Cyber Security Law

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White House Renews Bid for Cyber Security Law

Secret Service officers walk along the fence on the North side of the White House (Associated Press)

Washington:  The White House made a renewed push on Tuesday for cyber security legislation, asking the new Congress to revive an initiative stalled over the past few years.

The new proposal would allow increased sharing of information on cyber threats from the private sector with protection from liability. The measure also would criminalize the sale of stolen financial data, and would require companies to notify consumers about data breaches.

The updated proposal "promotes better cyber security information sharing between the private sector and government, and it enhances collaboration and information sharing amongst the private sector," a White House statement said.

The plan also "would allow for the prosecution of the sale of botnets, would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen US financial information like credit card and bank account numbers, would expand federal law enforcement authority to deter the sale of spyware used to stalk or commit ID theft, and would give courts the authority to shut down botnets engaged in distributed denial of service attacks and other criminal activity," the statement said.

President Barack Obama was expected to make comments on the initiative later on Tuesday at the National Cyber security and Communications Integration Center.

Obama has pressed for cyber security legislation to allow the private sector to share data on threats without fear of liability for any adverse consequences from the disclosures.

Earlier efforts on cyber security legislation have stalled amid opposition from civil libertarians who feared it could allow too much government snooping and conservatives who argued it would create a new bureaucracy.

Over the past few years, however, concerns have been heightened by the hacking of Sony Pictures and massive data breaches affecting retailers including Target and Home Depot.

On Monday, the US Central Command suspended its Twitter page after a group declaring sympathy for Islamic State jihadists hacked its social media accounts and posted internal documents.

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