On Thursday, Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., introduced the Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, which would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to set up a vulnerabilities disclosure program for DHS systems.

“This bill encourages ethical hackers to come forward with information they find about vulnerabilities in our government networks by assuring them that if they do, they’ll have protection under the law,” said Hassan.

The bill, a companion to H.R. 6735, passed by the House in September, would require DHS to establish program for white hat hackers to report vulnerabilities to the department. It would also require DHS to remediate the issue, and report back to Congress on the effectiveness of the program.

“At a time when cyber threats are on the rise, the United States government must protect itself. Doing so involves drawing upon the vast expertise of hackers and security experts in our country to identify vulnerabilities and report them to the people in a position to fix those flaws in our systems,” said Portman.

The two senators are no strangers to collaborating on cybersecurity legislation. Hassan and Portman have collaborated on the Hack DHS Act, which passed the Senate and complements the Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, according to the senators. The pair also introduced the DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act, which would put DHS’ cyber incident response teams into law.

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