CISPA’s Latest Critic: The White House
If you’re concerned about the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (better known as CISPA), you’re not alone: the White House doesn’t think all that much of it either.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told The Hill late Tuesday evening that any cybersecurity legislation that passes Congress ought to preserve Internet users’ privacy while also setting cybersecurity standards for private firms that run critical infrastructure, such as electrical grids.
Hayden didn’t single out CISPA by name, but she did say that American digital infrastructure can’t “be addressed by information sharing alone” — the central tenet of CISPA. The bill is designed to allow and encourage private businesses and the government to share information about cybersecurity threats with one another. It doesn’t set any security standards for private firms to meet.
CISPA has been met with disdain from Internet privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Technology and Progress, who argue the bill would allow the government to spy on citizens’ emails and social media accounts in the name of national security. Hayden echoed those concerns.
“Also, while information sharing legislation is an essential component of comprehensive legislation to address critical infrastructure risks, information sharing provisions must include robust safeguards to preserve the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens,” she told The Hill.
Hayden’s comments came after House members were briefed by top members of the intelligence community on the U.S.’ need for bolstered cybersecurity defenses. A number of cybersecurity bills are currently floating around the House with varying potential of becoming law.
CISPA is expected to be introduced to the House early next week, and the authors have been rapidly introducing updated “discussion drafts” in an attempt to respond to the bill’s critics.
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