The Senate Intelligence Committee approved legislation Tuesday aimed at helping companies and the government thwart hackers.
But the bill faces opposition from privacy groups, who warn that it could give the National Security Agency access to even more personal information of Americans.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, advanced in a 12-3 vote, would make it easier for businesses and the government to share information with each other about cyberattacks. Business groups argue that legal barriers are preventing them from getting the information they need to stop hackers.
“Every week, we hear about the theft of personal information from retailers and trade secrets from innovative businesses, as well as ongoing efforts by foreign nations to hack government networks,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said in a statement. “This bill is an important step toward curbing these dangerous cyberattacks.”
The legislation includes provisions aimed at protecting privacy, such as requiring that companies that share information first strip out personally identifiable data (such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers) of known Americans.
But the privacy groups are still worried that the legislation could encourage a company such as Google to turn over vast batches of emails or other private data to the government. The information would go first to the Homeland Security Department, but could then be shared with the NSA or other intelligence agencies.
“Instead of reining in NSA surveillance, the bill would facilitate a vast flow of private communications data to the NSA,” the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and dozens of other privacy groups wrote in a letter to senators last month.
Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall voted against the legislation, saying in a statement that it “lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans, and that it will not materially improve cybersecurity.”
The senators said they don’t trust the government not to exploit loopholes to spy on Americans. According to a Wyden aide, the committee defeated an amendment that the Oregon Democrat offered that would have strengthened privacy protections.
The legislation is a counterpart to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which passed the House last year.
That legislation prompted a major backlash from Internet activists, who fear it would undermine Internet privacy. More than 100,000 people signed a White House petition opposing the bill, and “CISPA” became a dirty word on many blogs, discussion forums, and news sites.
The White House issued a veto threat on CISPA, saying it lacked adequate privacy safeguards.
“I don’t know what information you would be concerned about that NSA would have in an information-sharing bill,” Feinstein told reporters following the markup, which was closed to the public. “If somebody’s hacking, you want [the information] to go where it needs to go.”
She said the legislation is just a “first step” in improving cybersecurity, and that she is hopeful it will become law before the end of the year.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the committee’s top Republican, said the bill is a carefully crafted compromise between business groups and privacy advocates.
“It’s not perfect for anybody,” Chambliss told reporters. “But if we take no action, then cyberattacks are going to continue to occur, and there is the potential for the American economy to be severely disrupted.”
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”