If I was to sum up the response from privacy groups, in regards to the newly detailed amendment to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), I would put it like this: ‘Well, that won’t quite do.’
Hot on the heels of the news that Representative Schiff has an amendment in the works that will be an attempt to answer critics of CISPA, which his committee drafted, the ACLU has given it a firm thumbs down. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) did manage to say that it was progress in the right direction, however.
According to a report in The Hill, the ACLU stated that the changes that the amendment contains do not “fix the fundamental problems with the bill.” That’s a no. Now, TNW’s reaction was a tentative ‘perhaps this will help,’ given that we hadn’t yet had a chance to fully parse the new proposals. The CDT has come down about where we were preliminarily: “In sum, good progress has been made. The committee listened to our concerns and has made important privacy improvements and we applaud the committee for doing so.”
However, the ACLU is a powerful organization, and much of the netroots (I despise that word) remains, in my estimation, untamed by the amendment.
A new report out from the GAO is bound to boost the side of those supporting CISPA, as it details cyber attacks on the federal government as up some 680% in the last 6 years. However, as that report noted, some of that percentage gain came about via better detection on behalf of the government.
CISPA is inching its way towards passing the House, but the Obama administration has taken a line against it, putting its future into doubt. The amendment, if deemed insufficient by not only the public, but also the current administration, CISPA passing the House could be a moot point.
That’s where we stand now. Don’t forget: when it comes to how the government interacts with the Internet, the stakes are high. Still, it is somewhat encouraging to see the House work on improving the bill. More, however, is simply needed.
TNW reached out to Rep. Schiff’s office for comment on the response of the ACLU and the CDT. They did not provide a formal statement.