WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Wednesday threatened to veto a House bill designed to defend critical U.S. industries and corporate networks from electronic attacks by foreign governments, cybercriminals and terrorist groups, arguing the measure falls short in protecting civil liberties.
"Cybersecurity and privacy are not mutually exclusive," the administration said in a statement issued just as proponents of the bill made their case for the legislation at a House hearing.
The administration complained that the House bill, which has bipartisan support, would allow sharing of information with the government without requiring industry and the government to minimize and protect personal information.
The statement said that if the bill were presented to the president in its current form, his senior advisers would recommend a veto.
The House is schedule to begin work on the bill on Thursday, with a final vote on Friday. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and the panel's top Democrat, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, announced changes to the bill on Tuesday to allay concerns of some lawmakers. Republicans said they expect the measure to pass despite the opposition of some lawmakers.
The administration backs a bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, that would give Homeland Security the authority to set security standards. That bill remains stalled in the Senate.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said Wednesday he hoped House passage of the bill would pressure the Democratic-controlled Senate to move on its legislation.