Cybersecurity Information Sharing: A Legal Morass, Says CRS

Several pending bills would promote increased sharing of cybersecurity-related information — such as threat intelligence and system vulnerabilities — in order to combat the perceived rise in the frequency and intensity of cyber attacks against private and government entities.

But such information sharing is easier said than done, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, because it involves a thicket of conflicting and perhaps incompatible laws and policy objectives.

“The legal issues surrounding cybersecurity information sharing… are complex and have few certain resolutions.” A copy of the CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News. See Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions, March 16, 2015.

Cyber information sharing takes at least three different forms: the release of cyber intelligence from government to the private sector, information sharing among private entities, and the transfer of threat information from private entities to government agencies.

“While collectively these three variants on the concept of cyber-information sharing have some commonalities, each also raises separate legal challenges that may impede cyber-intelligence dissemination more generally,” said the CRS report, which examines the legal ramifications of each category in turn.

Among the concerns at issue are: the potential for liability associate with disclosure of cybersecurity information, inappropriate release of private information through open government laws, loss of intellectual property, and potential compromise of personal privacy rights.

All of these create a legal morass that may be unreconcilable.

“A fundamental question lawmakers may need to contemplate is how restrictions that require close government scrutiny and control over shared cyber-information can be squared with other goals of cyber-information sharing legislation, like requirements that received information be disseminated in an almost instantaneous fashion,” the CRS report said.

“Ultimately, because the goals of cyber-information legislation are often diametrically opposed, it may simply be impossible for information sharing legislation to simultaneously promote the rapid and robust collection and dissemination of cyber-intelligence by the federal government, while also ensuring that the government respects the property and privacy interests implicated by such information sharing,” the report said.

Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from public distribution include the following.

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic, March 13, 2015

EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan: Conversion to Mass-Based Emission Targets, March 17, 2015

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): A Primer for the 114th Congress, March 17, 2015

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2016, March 18, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape, March 16, 2015

Mandatory Spending Since 1962, March 18, 2015

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations, March 17, 2015

Balancing Tourism against Terrorism: The Visa Waiver Program, CRS Insights, March 13, 2015

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, March 18, 2015

 

Changes in the Arctic, and More from CRS

The policy implications of changing climatic conditions in the Arctic region, and specifically the record loss of ice cover, are explored in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. See Changes in the Arctic, March 17, 2015.

“There are only eight nations in the world whose territory above the Arctic Circle gives them the right to claim being an Arctic nation,” said Adm. Robert Papp, Jr., the U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic, at a congressional hearing last December. “The United States is one, although it has been my experience that Americans do not embrace or fully understand the concept of being an Arctic nation.”

Other new and updated CRS products that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Energy Tax Incentives: Measuring Value Across Different Types of Energy Resources, March 19, 2015

Recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, CRS Fact Sheet, March 19, 2015

“Holds” in the Senate, March 19, 2015

Increased Campaign Contribution Limits in the FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations Law: Frequently Asked Questions, March 17, 2015

U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective, March 17, 2015

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA): Background and Reauthorization, March 13, 2015

International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses, March 16, 2015

U.S. Hits the Debt Limit, and More from CRS

The U.S. Government reached the statutory debt limit today, exhausting its normal ability to borrow money. In order to meet the government’s financial obligations, the Secretary of the Treasury must now take certain extraordinary measures. A newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service provides background on federal debt policy and explains the current state of affairs.  See The Debt Limit Since 2011, March 9, 2015.

Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from public distribution include the following.

Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues, March 6, 2015

Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress, March 6, 2015

Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate, March 9, 2015

The Federal Budget: Overview and Issues for FY2016 and Beyond, March 6, 2015

OSC Rule Seemingly Expands Federal Contractor Whistleblower Rights, CRS Legal Sidebar, March 11, 2015

Scientific Basis of Environmental Protection Agency Actions: H.R. 1029 and H.R. 1030, CRS Insights, March 11, 2015

Prevalence of Mental Illness in the United States: Data Sources and Estimates, March 9, 2015

Health Care for Veterans: Traumatic Brain Injury, March 9, 2015

U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations During President Obama’s First Six Years (2009-2014): Comparative Analysis with Recent Presidents, March 9, 2015

Federal Grants to State and Local Governments: A Historical Perspective on Contemporary Issues, March 5, 2015

The European Capital Markets Union, CRS Insights, March 11, 2015

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, March 6, 2015

Northern Ireland: The Peace Process, March 11, 2015

China-U.S. Trade Issues, March 9, 2015

Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress, March 4, 2015

Iran Sanctions, March 9, 2015

 

FOIA Reform Legislation, and More from CRS

Two companion bills pending in the House and Senate would amend the Freedom of Information Act “for the purpose of increasing public access,” a new analysis of the legislation from the Congressional Research Service explains.

Among other things, “both the House and Senate legislation would establish a statutory ‘presumption of openness,’ whereby information may only be withheld if it harms an interest protected by a statutory exemption or if disclosure is prohibited by law.”

While both bills “address a number similar topics, often in similar ways, there are substantive differences between them.” The similarities and the differences in the pending bills are summarized in the new CRS report. See Freedom of Information Act Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis, February 26, 2015.

Other new or updated CRS publications that Congress has withheld from online public disclosure include the following.

Email Privacy: District Court Rules that ECPA Warrants Apply to Electronic Communications Stored Overseas, CRS Legal Sidebar, March 4, 2015

U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Current Conflicts, February 27, 2015

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources, February 27, 2015

The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, March 3, 2015

Growth in Health Spending Remained Relatively Low in 2013, CRS Insights, February 27, 2015

Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act, March 2, 2015

Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Delays, Extensions, and Other Actions Taken by the Administration, March 3, 2015

Foreign Heads of State Addressing Congress, CRS Insights, February 27, 2015

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, February 27, 2015

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations, March 3, 2015

Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress, February 27, 2015

Locate an Agency or Program Within Appropriations Bills, February 27, 2015

The EMV Chip Card Transition: Background, Status, and Issues for Congress, February 26, 2015

Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Statistics and Programs, February 26, 2015

Genetic Testing: Background and Policy Issues, March 2, 2015

 

Refugee Admissions and Resettlement, and More from CRS

Newly updated publications from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, February 18, 2015

U.S. Tsunami Program: A Brief Overview, February 20, 2015

Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis, February 23, 2015

Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress, February 23, 2015

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons, February 23, 2015

Adapting to Climate Change, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service describes government agency plans to anticipate and adapt to the effects of climate change, as required by a 2013 executive order.
 
The first step is a vulnerability assessment. For the Department of Defense, climate change may have “potential impacts on geopolitics and national security interests that could result in [new] military operations, risks to existing military infrastructure, and hindrances to readiness and the ability to execute missions.”
 
“Climate change could affect the type, scope, frequency, tactics, and location of military operations worldwide,” the CRS report said. Already, “The Air Force has found that the combination of thawing permafrost, decreasing sea ice, and rising sea levels on the Alaskan coast has increased coastal erosion at several Air Force radar early-warning and communication installations.”
 
The new CRS report surveys the range of agency responses to date. See Climate Change Adaptation by Federal Agencies: An Analysis of Plans and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015.

Other new and updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.
 
The Obama Administration’s Proposed AUMF Against the Islamic State: Some Immediate Takeaways, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 19, 2015

Common Questions About Federal Records and Related Agency Requirements, February 2, 2015

China’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), January 30, 2015

International Law and Agreements: Their Effect Upon U.S. Law, February 18, 2015

Veto Override Procedure in the House and Senate, February 25, 2015

Anthem Data Breach: How Safe is Health Information Under HIPAA?, CRS Insights, February 24, 2015

Number of African American Judges Reaches All-Time High: Do Issues Remain?, CRS Insights, February 23, 2015

USCIS Funding and Accountability to Congress, CRS Insights, February 19, 2015

U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by the Islamic State, CRS Insights, February 13, 2015

and see, relatedly, How Much Are Americans Worth? By Aaron Gluck, International Affairs Review

CRS on DoD Procurement Programs

Newly updated reports from the Congressional Research Service on various Department of Defense procurement programs and related issues include the following.

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

The Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress, February 25, 2015

Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015

Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015

Navy LX(R) Amphibious Ship Program: Background and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015

Perspectives on the SSCI Torture Report, and More from CRS

New reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has not made publicly available include the following.

Perspectives on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) “Torture Report” and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: In Brief, February 10, 2015

U.S. Sanctions on Russia: Economic Implications, February 4, 2015

Alien Removals and Returns: Overview and Trends, February 3, 2015

A Guide to Describing the Income Distribution, February 5, 2015

The Measles: Background and Federal Role in Vaccine Policy, February 9, 2015

Bee Health: The Role of Pesticides, February 9, 2015

Newly updated versions of prior CRS reports that Congress has also withheld from online public distribution include these.

The United States and Europe: Current Issues, February 3, 2015

Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations, February 11, 2015

The Presidential Records Act: Background and Recent Issues for Congress, December 31, 2014

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean, February 11, 2015

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions, February 9, 2015

Tailoring the Patent System for Specific Industries, February 6, 2015

The Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI): Budget Authority and Request, FY2010-FY2016, February 6, 2015

EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: Congressional Responses and Options, February 5, 2015

Evaluating the “Past Performance” of Federal Contractors: Legal Requirements and Issues, February 5, 2015

The Target and Other Financial Data Breaches: Frequently Asked Questions, February 4, 2015

Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs, February 4, 2015

Terminating Contracts for the Government’s Convenience: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, February 3, 2015

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR): Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, February 3, 2015

Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism, January 12, 2015

Crime and Forfeiture, January 22, 2015

A Profile of the 114th Congress, and More from CRS

The membership of the new Congress has set several new demographic records, according to a survey by the Congressional Research Service.

“One hundred eight women (a record number) serve in the 114th Congress: 88 in the House, including four Delegates, and 20 in the Senate. There are 46 African American Members of the House and two in the Senate. This House number includes two Delegates. There are 38 Hispanic or Latino Members (a record number) serving: 34 in the House, including one Delegate and the Resident Commissioner, and four in the Senate. A record 14 Members (11 Representatives, two Delegates, and one Senator) are Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders. Two American Indians (Native Americans) serve in the House,” CRS found.

“The average age of Members of the House at the beginning of the 114th Congress was 57.0 years; of Senators, 61.0 years. The overwhelming majority of Members of Congress have a college education.” See Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile, January 22, 2015.

Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for the 114th Congress, January 28, 2015

Nigeria’s 2015 Elections and the Boko Haram Crisis, January 28, 2015

Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2015 Action in the 114th Congress, January 30, 2015

H.R. 399, the Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015: Report in Brief, January 27, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Overview, January 30, 2015

Congressional Roll Call Votes on the Keystone XL Pipeline, January 22, 2015

In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), January 22, 2015

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, January 23, 2015

Defense: FY2015 Authorization and Appropriations, January 28, 2015

U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions, January 30, 2015

Bitcoin: Questions, Answers, and Analysis of Legal Issues, January 28, 2015

Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2015, January 26, 2015

Who Regulates Whom and How? An Overview of U.S. Financial Regulatory Policy for Banking and Securities Markets, January 30, 2015

Oil Sands and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund: The Definition of “Oil” and Related Issues for Congress, January 22, 2015

U.S.-Mexico Water Sharing: Background and Recent Developments, January 23, 2015

National Security Letters: Proposals in the 113th Congress, January 22, 2015

 

Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing, and More from CRS

New and updated products from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following.

U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia, CRS Insights, January 23, 2015

Who’s Your Mommy/Daddy? Citizenship Policy Evolves with Medical Technology, CRS Legal Sidebar, January 27, 2015

U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Support, January 27, 2015

Information Warfare: Cyberattacks on Sony, CRS Insights, January 30, 2015

Biennial Budgeting: Options, Issues, and Previous Congressional Action, February 2, 2015

Sex Trafficking of Children in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress, January 28, 2015

U.S. Natural Gas Exports: New Opportunities, Uncertain Outcomes, January 28, 2015

Health Care for Veterans: Suicide Prevention, January 30, 2015

Wartime Detention Provisions in Recent Defense Authorization Legislation, January 23, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress, January 30, 2015