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Report: Congress Divided Over Cyber Bill’s FOIA Exemption

cybersecuritySome U.S. lawmakers and open government advocates have voiced concerns about the inclusion of a Freedom of Information Act exemption in cybersecurity data sharing bills, Politico reported Monday.

Josh Gerstein writes the Senate Intelligence Committee passed legislation that would exempt information that companies or individuals share with the federal government from FOIA.

Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said they believe the provision “is overbroad and unnecessary as the types of information shared with the government through this bill would already be exempt from unnecessary public release under current FOIA exemptions,” according to the report.

Becca Watkins, a spokesperson for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), told Politico the bill is designed to create a safe data exchange environment for agencies and businesses.

Patrice McDermott, executive director at OpenTheGovernment.org, told the publication that she believes that free speech exceptions in cybersecurity legislation could trigger public accountability and safety issues.

Politico reports the House of Representatives could vote on two cybersecurity bills this week.

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