Cybersecurity bill votes start in three days – Keep the pressure on

Library and privacy supporters: Keep pressuring House members to vote NO on H.R. 3523 and other bills that will restructure our nation’s privacy policies and laws. ALA remains staunchly opposed to this bill.  Petition your elected representatives with the ALA Legislative Action Center.

The major problems remain:

  • CISPA would permit private “entities” (ISPS, utilities, etc.) to share huge amounts of information about our electronic communications with the government without a legal review or warrant;
  • CISPA permits these private providers to provide dumps of information without necessarily anonymizing or aggregating the information to protect personal privacy;
  • CISPA would authorize the National Security Agency (NSA) – an intelligence and military agency – to receive all of the Internet records to be used, not just for cybersecurity, but for other “lawful purposes” as well;
  • CISPA trumps all other privacy laws – state, local and national – if the sharing of the information is deemed “cybersecurity.”

The House of Representatives is still scheduled to address a number of troubling cyber bills during Cybersecurity Week, the week of April 23. One of the most troubling bills remains H.R. 3523, The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, CISPA.

At this writing, the text of CISPA is still in flux and behind-the-scene discussions continue. Additional amendments must be filed next Tuesday, April 24, 2012. While things are in great flux, it could be that H.R. 3523 will hit the House floor next Wednesday or Thursday, April 25-26, 2012. This is the key time to keep your calls going into House offices.

Other privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Constitution Project also remain in opposition to H.R. 3523. As the ACLU noted in their blog: “The changes are so underwhelming that even the Obama Administration issued a statement [April 18] that their privacy concerns persist.”

The mix of bills in the House emphasizes sharing vast amounts of electronic communications between private service providers (and other “utilities”) and the government. These bills would give immunity and permission to share the traffic on their systems if the information is deemed for “cybersecurity” purposes.

Tell Congress: No Cyber Spying! No CISPA! 

The one improvement we can report is that the specific term “intellectual property” was removed, although there is still too much ambiguity elsewhere in the bill to know for certain that copyright issues couldn’t be swept in with all of the other information sharing activities and purposes.

Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

Posted in Cybersecurity, Intellectual Freedom, Legislation, Library Advocacy, OGR, Telecommunications Tagged with: , , , ,

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