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IBM executives head to Washington to press lawmakers on cybersecurity bill

Nearly 200 senior IBM executives are flying into Washington to press for the passage of a controversial cybersecurity bill that will come up for a vote in the House this week.

The IBM executives will pound the pavement on Capitol Hill Monday and Tuesday, holding nearly 300 meetings with lawmakers and staff. Over the course of those two days, their mission is to convince lawmakers to back a bill that’s intended to make it easier for industry and government to share information about cyber threats with each other in real time.

“We’re going to put our shoe leather where our mouth is,” Chris Padilla, vice president of governmental affairs at IBM, told The Hill.

“The message we're going to give [lawmakers] is going to be a very simple, clear message: support the passage of CISPA,” he later added.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), passed out of committee on an 18-2 vote last Wednesday and is expected to come to the floor for a vote as soon as mid-week.

While the bill enjoys strong backing from industry, privacy advocates warn the bill lacks sufficient protections for people’s information online. The White House issued a veto threat against the first iteration of CISPA last year, due in part to privacy concerns.

Despite the opposition, CISPA safely passed the House last year on a bipartisan vote—and IBM intends to make sure it does again this week.

The technology services company runs the information technology networks of major hospitals, banks and electric companies—key infrastructure that lawmakers and security officials warn are top targets for hostile actors to launch a cyberattack. More...

04-15-2013 15:45