Civil Liberties Groups Renew Opposition To House Cybersecurity Bill
Civil liberties groups are back actively opposing a cybersecurity bill that the House is scheduled to consider on Thursday.
The Center for Democracy and Technology and the Constitution Project never really dropped objections to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, but after discussions with the bill's sponsors, the groups said on Tuesday they would not actively oppose the bill and focus on amendments instead.
But on Wednesday, the House Rules Committee shot down 22 of 43 submitted amendments to the bill, known as CISPA. All but one Republican amendments were made in order, while four out of 19 Democratic amendments and four with 10 bipartisan support made the cut. Five amendments were withdrawn.
"In issuing a rule excluding amendments on two of the major privacy and civil liberties issues remaining in CISPA--the flow of information to the National Security Agency and the authority to use information for non-cybersecurty purposes--the House leadership has squandered an opportunity to achieve balanced cybersecurity legislation," CDT said in a statement.
On Tuesday CISPA's sponsors said they had resolved many of the privacy concerns over the bill, which would give businesses incentives to share cyberthreat information while freeing government agencies to give companies access to classified information.
Critics have pushed to increase privacy protections as well as add additional cybersecurity measures, such as giving Homeland Security officials more oversight over some private networks.
With bipartisan support and the backing of House leadership, CISPA is expected to pass the House, although key members of the Senate oppose it and the White House has threatened a veto.
House debate is scheduled to begin around noon on Thursday. In addition to CISPA, the House will be considering as many as three other bills designed to increase government information security, and encourage cybersecurity R&D and education.