Following abortive amendment process, House Dems ding CISPA’s committee passage

Following abortive amendment process, House Dems ding CISPA’s committee passage

A group of four House Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee filed a rider to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) expressing their disappointment at the lack of inclusion of several privacy related amendments that could have allayed concerns regarding the bill’s potential impact of private citizens.

CISPA passed its committee on an 18-2 vote earlier this week. It is expected that the bill will be voted on as early as next week. Assuming a vote along partisan lines – which is not guaranteed – it will pass; barring something unexpected, CISPA will yet again pass the House.

The complaints outlined – brought to our attention by The Hill’s excellent Jennifer Martinez – can be found in full here (Scribd). The key excerpts are as follows [Formatting, bolding: TNW]:

We suppor the intent of the Cyber Intelligent Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 624), but we are disappointed in some aspects of it and believe that it can be improved to better protect privacy and civil liberties, while still working effectively to enhance cybersecurity.

While the Committee did adopt meaningful improvements that are helpful, we are disappointed that the Committee rejected a proposed amendment that would have required private sector entities to make “reasonable efforts” to remove Personally Identifiable Information (PII) unrelated to the cybersecurity threat [in question].

If this sounds like a simplistic request, note that it is merely a simple one: information that pertains to private citizens, and is identifying of their person, and does not pertain to the case at hand should be removed. This is obvious.

It isn’t in the new version of CISPA.

Interestingly, CISPA faces a rocky, or perhaps impassable route to becoming a law. The White House has chastised it for being too weak in its protection of citizen privacy. Privacy groups are stating their case against it. And large technology companies have removed their support. That and the Senate has shown little or no appetite in the past to take it up.

Frankly, CISPA is racing towards general irrelevance  if it passed sans stronger privacy protections, it has all but no chance of making it out of the lower chamber of Congress. And that is to be celebrated.

Top Image Credit: Kate Mereand-Sinha

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