The Complex

Mike Rogers wants legislation to combat international IP, trade secret theft

Expect to see Congress take up legislation to punish nations and people that back global intellectual property theft and industrial espionage, House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers said today. Such legislation could revoke visas of those involved in economic espionage or sanction countries that back such behavior.

Such actions would punish "nation-states that steal intellectual property and repurpose it for government companies to illegally compete in the market," Rogers told reporters after a breakfast in Washington, alluding to Chinese intellectual property theft. "That's something I'm working on, and we've got some great bipartisan support on this and great bicameral support, and we'll have an announcement on this soon."

He added that legislation to punish countries engaged in economic espionage will not be included latest version of CISPA, set to be voted on next month, but rather it will be "announced and ready sometime this year."

He hinted that the legislation could also punish people who knowingly do business with foreign entities that rely on intellectual property theft for their business model.

"I steal from your house, and I come to [another person's house] and try to sell it, it is both a crime for me to steal it and a crime for you to take stolen property. This should be no different. The only difference is, the value of it is exponentially bigger," said Rogers, a former FBI agent.

Early last month, Rogers said the U.S. must do more to confront China on its state-backed economic espionage campaigns.

"We need direct talks with China and it needs to be at the top of a bilateral discussion about cyber espionage," Rogers told Killer Apps on Feb. 13. "This is a problem of epic proportions here, and they need to be called on the carpet. There has been absolutely no consequences for what they have been able to steal and repurpose to date." Rogers suggested that the U.S. implement trade sanctions and identify "individuals who participate in this, go after their visas, go after family travel, all of the levers we have at the Department of State. The problem is that bad."

Last month the White House unveiled its strategy to combat the international theft of intellectual property and trade secrets. This effort is focused on international law enforcement efforts to catch IP thieves and diplomatic cooperation aimed at curbing state-backed theft of trade secrets.

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The Complex

House intel committee to vote on CISPA in April

The House intelligence committee will vote on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, better known as CISPA, next month.

"It will be coming out of the committee in April, it is a continuing work in progress, we are still meeting with privacy groups, still meeting with industry folks," said committee  chairman Mike Rogers during a breakfast in Washington this morning.

Remember, numerous organizations from the White House to the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have opposed the bill, saying it would violate citizens' privacy rights. The bill died last year after the White House threatened a veto over privacy concerns.

"We want a bill that the American people can have faith and confidence in, that it is working for them, not against them, and [to allay concerns] that it is a surveillance program, which it is not," said Rogers. "We want to make sure that we meet the level of privacy concerns, and we think we can do that by working in some very direct language that expresses, in language, what we believe the bill already does but we want to reiterate that."

Rogers added that the committee and the White House may have had a "break-through" regarding its privacy concerns this week. He would not elaborate.

"I think we've got them [the White House] to a place where they're interested in working with us to get something that we can get signed into the law,' added Rogers.

While the White House is concerned about the bill infringing on privacy rights, executive branch officials have said that legislation allowing private businesses to share information with each other and the government is needed to augment the White House's cyber security executive order.

The executive order authorizes government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to share threat information with businesses but not the other way around; only legislation can require that.

A key tenet of such legislation would be giving businesses immunity from lawsuits for sharing personal information about private citizens or violating antitrust statutes when sharing cyber security information. (Click here to learn more about the type of information that the government wants to share.)

Without "robust" liability protection, "this won't work," said Rogers of any attempt private sector information sharing.

Rogers and the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Dutch Ruppersburger said when re-launching the bill last month that they are working with the White House to avoid another veto threat.

He added that his committee has also garnered "a lot more democratic support" in the Senate than it did last year.

Rogers told reporters after the breakfast that CISPA is only the first of many cyber-related legislative projects that will emerge this year. Stay tuned to Killer Apps for more on this today.

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