It's "Cyber Week" in the House, and CISPA is back, but not without concerted opposition. First and foremost, the White House has issued a veto threat (via email) of the legislation as it currently stands.
The Administration recognizes and appreciates that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) adopted several amendments to H.R. 624 in an effort to incorporate the Administration's important substantive concerns. However, the Administration still seeks additional improvements and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill. The Administration seeks to build upon the continuing dialogue with the HPSCI and stands ready to work with members of Congress to incorporate our core priorities to produce cybersecurity information sharing legislation that addresses these critical issues.
H.R. 624 appropriately requires the Federal Government to protect privacy when handling cybersecurity information. Importantly, the Committee removed the broad national security exemption, which significantly weakened the restrictions on how this information could be used by the government. The Administration, however, remains concerned that the bill does not require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information when sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities. Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable—and not granted immunity—for failing
to safeguard personal information adequately. [emphasis in original]
House Democrats have rallied in opposition
, whipping colleagues against the legislation because of very real privacy concerns. That effort should be bolstered by the White House veto threat. The four members behind the effort are attempting to get enough members on the letter to convince the Rules committee to allow amendments that would protect privacy and civil liberties. Rep. Adam Schiff, for example, has an amendment
that was rejected in committee to require companies to strip all personally identifying information of customers before sharing the information with other companies or the government, and he wants this amendment to be offered on the House floor.
The bill also still gives companies immunity if they illegally share customer data, a "gaping new exception to privacy law," as the Electronic Frontier Foundation puts it. EFF has organized a letter from a coalition of 34 activist organizations to Congress in opposition to the bill. Daily Kos is proud to be in that coalition. The vote will be Wednesday or Thursday, so now is the time to act.
Email your member of Congress and tell them to vote against CISPA.
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