tagged w/ Government Intrusion
The two US lawmakers responsible for last year’s failed cybersecurity bill known as CISPA are reintroducing the act, and renewed interest from Washington means it might have a fighting chance this time at being signed into law.
Less than ten months after the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act stalled on Capitol Hill after being overwhelmingly approved in the House of Representatives, the architects of bill that’s been called “Worse than SOPA” are once more pitching their effort to politicians.
If approved, CISPA could reshape the way American businesses interact with the federal government by setting up a system for private sector entities to share cyberthreat information with any agency administered by Uncle Sam, a notion being called a national security necessity by an increasing number of figures in Washington. Critics of the act condemn the bill’s vague verbiage, though, and less than one year ago orchestrated an online opposition movement with hopes of snuffing CISPA for good. But while the bill — the brainchild of Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Sen. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Calif.) — failed to garner the support needed within Washington to make it become a law last year, urging from both Congress and the commander-in-chief — and coupled with a new slew of alleged cyber intrusions — could help CISPA be added to the books in no time.
CISPA, a bill “to provide for the sharing of certain cyber threat intelligence and cyber threat information between the intelligence community and cybersecurity entities,” was approved by the House by a 248-168 vote last April, but ended in political purgatory after lawmakers in the Senate failed to see eye-to-eye with their congressional counterparts. Even had CISPA made it that far, though, aides for US President Barack Obama insisted problems with the bill would make it the subject of an executive veto. During just a few short months, however, the White House has rallied support for cybersecurity legislation, and just this week Pres. Obama signed an executive order to establish the framework needed to protect the country’s critical and wired infrastructure in lieu of Congress’ inability to do so on their own part, whether through CISPA or by other means. Pres. Obama announced the order during his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, and added a plea to the politicians in his audience to work towards a Legislative Branch solution.
“Earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy. Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks,” Pres. Obama said.
An executive order from Pres. Obama isn’t exactly a rare occurrence, and a laundry list of directives signed in the wake of last year’s Sandy Hook massacre aimed to establish gun reform was faced with furious opposition on the Hill. Either way, though, the orders he’s made from the Oval Office have led some lawmakers to suggest that the commander-in-chief is bypassing both Congress and the Constitution.
“Obama's increasing reliance on executive orders to push policy and skirt congressional deliberation is worrisome,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted this week.
But in a joint statement issued by the officers of Rep. Rogers and Sen. Ruppersberger on the day of the annual address, the CISPA co-authors said they were “pleased” with the president’s remarks and agreed that “our biggest barriers to bolster our cyber defenses can be fixed only with legislation.” CISPA, said the lawmakers, will “help US companies better protect themselves and the privacy and civil liberties of their customers” from international hackers per the president’s request.
“This is clearly not a theoretical threat – the recent spike in advanced cyberattacks against the banks and newspapers makes that crystal clear: American businesses are under siege,” Rep. Rogers said. He added that American companies need to have their networks better protected because, as he explains in an op-ed published last week in The Detroit News, “thousands of highly-trained computer engineers wake up” every morning in China with the mission to “Steal American intellectual property that the Chinese can in turn use to compete against us in the international market.”
“It is time to stop admiring this problem and deal with it immediately,” Rogers added this week. “Congress urgently needs to pass our cyber threat information sharing bill to protect our national security, our economy and US jobs.”
To CISPA’s critics, though, one very important item isn’t taken into consideration when it comes to offering protection. Opponents of the bill insist that approving CISPA could have damning repercussions for personal privacy and would put off-the-record conversations online and in the hands of any government investigator who can call that data relevant to a case. For that reason, it’s been opposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology and others. Even Mozilla, a leading Silicon Valley software maker, strayed from the pack last year and said, “While we wholeheartedly support a more secure Internet, CISPA has a broad and alarming reach that goes far beyond Internet security,”
“The bill infringes on our privacy,” Mozilla’s privacy and public policy official said in a statement to Forbes last year.
Even still, others say the overly vague language of the bill itself could lead to broad interpretation.
Speaking to RT when CISPA was last up for vote in April 2012, Demand Progress co-founder Aaron Swartz said the act has “all the censorship problems” of other cyber legislation that’s been proposed in under the Obama administration such as SOPA and PIPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, respectively — but warned that CISPA is “incredibly broad and dangerous” since “it also goes much further and allows them to spy on people using the Internet, to get their personal data and e-mails.” All, of course, in the name of cybersecurity. But as Congress is still only in its infancy in terms of understanding computers, that ill-defined term can allow for Washington to interpret CISPA in a variety of ways.
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BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU... and listening to you. First PIPA, then SOPA then ACTA and now this. This bill has morphed more times than a shape shifter on True Blood. Defeated in 2012 and now resurrected again in 2013. This affront to our civil liberties will simply not die because there is much money to be made out of spying. And notice Obama's announcement of the executive order in the SOTU (and it was kind of funny when he related that "hackers" look at private e-mails when Verizon, AT&T, GOOGLE, etc. under the auspices of this government have been doing it for years) shrouded under a cover of fear. Make no mistake about it, governments and their corporate benefactors have been working on taking all the freedom they can away from us for a very long time. So, is this the price of progress?
Please, fight for your Internet freedom.
Please sign the petititon: http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/cispa/The two US lawmakers responsible for last year’s failed cybersecurity bill known... more
we have to get rid of cps