This bill would trump all other privacy laws, all of the other protections the government has established for keeping personally identifiable and sensitive data—financial records, medical records, communication—private. Companies could share any and all of your information with the government in the name of national security, and there's nothing you could do about it. It was a bad bill last year, and it's a bad bill now. That's why the White House has threatened to veto this legislation, just like they did last year. (Yes, House Republican leadership are slow learners.)
In the floor debate, House Republicans tried to capitalize on this week's tragedies to push the legislation. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chair of the Homeland Security Committee, said the bill was critical to pass because of Boston.
"I think if anything, the recent events in Boston demonstrate, that we have to come together to get this done in name," McCaul said at a House hearing where several amendments of the bill were debated. "In the case of Boston, they were real bombs. In this case they're digital bombs. These bombs are on their way. That's why this legislation is so urgent. For if we don't and those digital bombs land and attack the United States, and Congress failed to act, then Congress has that on his hands."That's the kind of over-the-top fear-mongering that the House will use to compel the Senate to act quickly. That's the last thing the Senate should do. Any bill it passes needs to protect critical infrastructure and our privacy.