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A bill to let U.S. spy agencies share intelligence on cyber threats with private companies was backed by a House of Representatives intelligence panel on Thursday.

In a 17-1 vote, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence approved the legislation that would expand a pilot Pentagon program for sharing classified and sensitive threat information with defense contractors and their Internet service providers.

Under the measure, a longer list of companies would be eligible for access to classified data from the National Security Agency and other agencies.

The bill was amended to expand privacy protections for data that companies give the government, including, potentially, data that Internet providers give about their customers. That data could be used only for cyber or national security, according to the amendment.

Source: Diane Bartz for Reuters via MSNBC.

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