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Senate Expected to Pass ISP-Backed Cybersecurity Bill

WASHINGTON — Internet service providers could collaborate with each other and the government in trying to identify and prevent cybersecurity attacks per a Senate bill slated for a floor vote that will be eagerly watched in the multichannel world this week.

A bipartisan Senate bill, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, has been subject to debate and amendments and is seen as likely to be adopted. It then must be conferenced with a House version that passed in April. The Obama Administration supports the bill.

Cable operators and other ISPs like CISA. It would shield companies from liability for inadvertently sharing consumers’ personally identifiable information with the government and protect them from antitrust laws for collaborating to defend themselves against attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security would act as a central clearinghouse for the information, adding an extra layer of “scrubbing” in case personal information slips through, according to bill backers.

The bill is bipartisan, but a bit grudgingly. Supporters on both sides concede the bill is not perfect, and could be better.

But most on both sides argue some action must be taken when it seems that almost every day brings news of another hack attack. Last week, for example, a teenager was accused of hacking CIA director John O. Brennan’s personal e-mail, later published by WikiLeaks.

In other news and events to watch for this coming week:

• Cable providers are set to start reporting third-quarter. No. 1 MSO Comcast kicks things off on Tuesday (Oct. 27) followed by two big providers involved in a big merger, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, on Thursday (Oct. 29). (For a preview of what those earnings might look like, see Finance)

• Cable networks hope Halloween-themed specials will do the trick in terms of drawing ratings treats. On Monday, Oct. 26, ID has slated the special Behind Closed Doors: Shocking Secrets and A&E will air the live special Fear: Buried Alive. On Friday, Oct. 30, Destination America will air Exorcism: Live, and Showtime has slated the special I Am Giant: Victor Cruz. (For more on live programming, see Viewpoint)

Starz, SundanceTV and TNT will roll out new and returning scripted series this week, and Hallmark Channel will debut the first of its 16 original Christmas-themed films. Series debuts on Halloween (Saturday, Oct. 31) include Ash vs. Evil Dead on Starz and a new season of The Returned on SundanceTV. And on Sunday (Nov. 1), ’Tis The Season for Love premieres on Hallmark Channel and Mike Tyson Mysteries (Adult Swim) and The Librarians (TNT) return. (For more on Hallmark’s holiday plans, see Content.)

NATPE on Monday is expected to name Steve Harvey, Doug Herzog, Quincy Jones, Sophie Turner Laing and Norman Lear as recipients of the organization’s 13th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award. The ceremony, a special reception on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach, will come during the annual NATPE Miami Market and Conference.

R. Thomas Umstead and Mike Farrell contributed to this article.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.