Feeds

US government green-lights data swapping for security firms

Agencies will not pursue anti-trust charges for trading information

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Security firms looking to share research data with their peers need not fear the US Federal Trade Commission or Department of Justice any more.

The FTC and DOJ issued a joint policy statement on Thursday assuring the security community that they will not pursue antitrust cases against companies that share their security information.

The two agencies said that they will draw a clear distinction between companies who share data with their market competitors regarding security issues and research, and those who knowingly disclose trade and company secrets with competitors in hopes of manipulating the market or fixing prices.

"Because of the FTC’s long experience promoting data security, we understand the serious threat posed by cyberattacks,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement.

"This statement should help private businesses by making it clear that antitrust laws do not stand in the way of legitimate sharing of cybersecurity threat information."

The aim in issuing the statement, said the FTC and DOJ, is to ease the fears of companies who had been hesitant to reach out to others with their security research and attack data out of fear that releasing the information would be considered an anticompetitive act.

The sharing of data has long been considered a tenet of the security community. Firms often share data about new attacks and malware infections with the public and other companies. Vendors have long advocated a cooperative approach which holds that by sharing intelligence with the group, individual vendors are able to make their products more secure and force attackers to try new targets and techniques.

The FTC and DOJ said that such sharing should not risk being stifled by antitrust laws which are designed to stop competitors from working in collusion.

The statement explicitly states "cyber threat information typically is very technical in nature and very different from the sharing of competitively sensitive information such as current or future prices and output or business plans."

Patrick Thomas, a security consultant for Neohapsis, said that the policy statement will be particularly helpful for security firms that work with 'hybrid' platforms which rely on a mixture of public and private infrastructure where regulatory issues can get complicated.

"While anti-trust violations for this sort of sharing probably did not loom large in the minds of most technology-centric companies, it may have held back more heavily regulated industries such as utilities and finance," Thomas explained.

"These are exactly the sort of heavily targeted sectors that benefit from this clear guidance."

Recently, the government has moved to further facilitate the sharing of information by seeking to remove legal hurdles which could restrict companies from sharing data between themselves and with the government.

The CISPA legislation is aiming to clear a different set of obstacles by opening channels between government security agencies and the private sector. Advocates of the law hope that CISPA will allow companies to provide the government with vital information to prevent cyberattacks on public and private infrastructure, while critics charge that the law will further enable the NSA to gather personal information on citizens en masse for its oft-criticized domestic and international surveillance programs. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.