The United States House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday designed to protect networks against cyber attacks.
The bill passed 248 to 168, despite a veto threat from the White House.
Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman and a former FBI agent, told the House of Representatives: “We needed to stop the Chinese government from stealing our stuff. We needed to stop the Russians from what they’re doing to our networks and people’s personal information data and resources. We needed to prepare for countries like Iran and North Korea so that they don’t do something catastrophic to our networks here in America and cause us real harm to real people.”
The White House and many civil liberties groups, however, have criticized the bill, saying it does not have sufficient safeguards to protect personal information, and they are concerned that the bill will allow internet companies to share information with the National Security Agency about any individual surfing the Web or sending an email.
The House was also told by technical experts that Iran is now a serious cyber threat to the United States.
Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, said at an April 26 hearing before joint subcommittees of the House Homeland Security Committee: “Iran appears to be moving from defensive to offensive in the way it thinks about cyberspace.”
Other experts also reported that Iran is investing heavily in developing cyber war capability and has already established an Iranian Cyber Army that has hacked into the U.S. Voice of America.
The experts added, however, that Iran does not top the list of threats to U.S. cyber security, as both China and Russia pose a greater danger.