Thank You Mr. President – In Big Win for Privacy, Administration Issues CISPA Veto Threat!
Over the last few months, more than 50,000 ACLU supporters signed our petition to the president urging him to veto CISPA if it made it to his desk. Not only did the president hear your calls – yesterday, he answered them with a resounding win for your privacy and civil liberties and threatened to veto CISPA, the dangerous privacy-busting cybersecurity bill.
The president's veto threat echoed many of our concerns, and those that he raised last year when he threatened to veto CISPA 1.0. We have long warned that CISPA threatens Americans' privacy and civil liberties by allowing for companies to share our private information, like our internet records and the content of our emails, with the government. Yesterday's veto threat makes it clear that in spite of recent amendments, CISPA still fails to adequately protect our privacy. As the veto threat states:
President Obama also addressed our concerns that CISPA would allow for the militarization of the internet by allowing domestic cyber threat information to be shared with the NSA or other agencies in the Department of Defense. The veto threat was unequivocal that the internet is a civilian space, stating 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…for failing to safeguard personal information adequately.
While we are thrilled that the president has threatened to veto CISPA if it reaches his desk, the fight isn't over yet. The House is expected to vote on CISPA as early as today. We wrote the House and joined a coalition of 34 groups urging a "No" vote on CISPA, but every member of Congress should also hear from their constituents that they should vote for privacy, and vote "NO" on H.R. 624.
The Administration supports the longstanding tradition to treat the Internet and cyberspace as civilian spheres… newly authorized information sharing for cybersecurity purposes from the private sector to the government should enter the government through a civilian agency.
House Passes Controversial Cybersecurity Bill CISPA
WASHINGTON (AP) — Pro-business legislation aimed at helping companies fend off sophisticated foreign hackers sailed through the House on Thursday despite a White House veto threat and an outcry from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups that say it leaves Americans vulnerable to spying by the military.
The House vote, 288-127, puts the spotlight on the Senate, which hasn’t taken up the issue and is consumed with other high-profile issues such as gun control and immigration. The lack of enthusiasm in the Senate and objections by the White House mean that the legislation is in limbo despite an aggressive push by lobbyists representing nearly every corner of industry.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is widely backed by industry groups that say businesses are struggling to defend themselves against aggressive and sophisticated attacks from hackers in China, Russia and Eastern Europe. ,,,
A similar version of the bill passed the House a year ago by a 248-168 vote. But that bill also had prompted a veto threat and never gained traction in the Senate.
ACLU: CISPA Is Dead (For Now) ...
The controversial cybersecurity bill known as the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week, will almost certainly be shelved by the Senate, according to a representative of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
The bill would have allowed the federal government to share classified "cyber threat" information with companies, but it also provided provisions that would have allowed companies to share information about specific users with the government. Privacy advocates also worried that the National Security Administration would have gotten involved.
"We're not taking [CISPA] up," the committee representative says. "Staff and senators are divvying up the issues and the key provisions everyone agrees would need to be handled if we're going to strengthen cybersecurity. They'll be drafting separate bills."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., chairman of the committee, said the passage of CISPA was "important," but said the bill's "privacy protections are insufficient."
That, coupled with the fact that President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill, has even CISPA's staunchest opponents, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, ready to bury CISPA and focus on future legislation.