White House questions CISPA cybersecurity bill
The Obama administration didn't threaten a veto. But it did say information-sharing bills must preserve "privacy and civil liberties" -- something that critics say CISPA does not do.
The White House today expressed concerns about a controversial cybersecurity bill that would authorize Internet companies to.
Opposition from the Obama administration -- which stopped short of a veto threat -- could imperil the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which is scheduled for a House of Representatives floor vote next week. CISPA is intended to improve computer security by allowing companies and government agencies to share sensitive information.
In a statement provided to The Hill newspaper, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said:
While information sharing legislation is an essential component of comprehensive legislation to address critical infrastructure risks, information sharing provisions must include robust safeguards to preserve the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens. Legislation without new authorities to address our nation's critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, or legislation that would sacrifice the privacy of our citizens in the name of security, will not meet our nation's urgent needs.
Three months ago, the proudly lists letters of support from Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, Symantec, Verizon, AT&T, and Intel (which today called CISPA an "important step forward"). And over two dozen trade associations sent a letter to Congress today (PDF) applauding "greater sharing of information.", or SOPA, was a broad alliance of companies and civil liberties groups. But no such coalition exists here: the House Intelligence committee
Civil liberties groups, on the other hand, remain steadfastly opposed to legal authorization for such broad information-sharing. The American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the libertarian-leaning TechFreedom, and other groups launched a "Stop Cyber Spying" campaign yesterday -- complete with a write-your-congresscritter-via-Twitter app -- and over 670,000 people have signed an anti-CISPA Web petition.
What sparked theis the section of CISPA that says "notwithstanding any other provision of law," companies may share information "with any other entity, including the federal government." That would trump state and federal wiretap and other privacy laws. (CISPA doesn't, however, require companies to turn over that data.)
The White House's National Security Council previously endorsed a different proposal -- known as the-- that would be more regulatory. And it, too, has for overly broad language.
CISPA authors House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the panel's senior Democrat, today said they "formally filed" the version of CISPA that their committee approved in December. That's the last step before a House floor vote.