The cyber-security bill has been stalled in the Senate due to privacy concerns

Cyber-security bill likely to be passed by US Senate

US senators will consider a bill this week that will make it easier for firms to share Americans' personal information with each other or the government.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 was passed by the House of Representatives in April, but stalled in the Senate due to concerns that it would make it too easy for companies to hand Americans' personal information over to the government.

However, the legislation has strong support from corporations afraid of further high-profile cyber-attacks, like those launched against Sony Pictures Entertainment and Target. The massive theft of data, blamed on China, from computers of the government's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has also fuelled calls to pass the legislation.

"I urge the Senate to allow us to act and pass it this week," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday, urging lawmakers to allow a vote on the bill before leaving for a four-week recess at the end of this week.

It is the third attempt to pass such a cyber-security bill in recent years, after two previous bills failed to make it through the Senate.

Business group the US Chamber of Commerce sent a letter on Monday to every member of the Senate urging them to take up and immediately pass the bill and Senate aides said the bill should pass easily once it comes up for a vote.

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, and the panel's top Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein have proposed changes that would limit government use of any shared information to investigating and prosecuting cyber-security crimes only, according to documents seen by Reuters.

"This bill is bipartisan. It is narrowly focused and it puts in place a number of privacy protections," Feinstein said in a speech urging support.

The intelligence committee approved the measure in March with only Democratic Senator Ron Wyden voting against it in the committee, saying he wants McConnell to allow lawmakers to offer amendments to improve it.

If the bill passes it will still have to be reconciled with the measure passed by the House before it could be sent for President Barack Obama to sign into law.

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