News / USA

Privacy Advocates Prepare New Fight Against US Cyber Bill

x
TEXT SIZE - +
U.S. privacy and technology activists are preparing for a new round of fighting against an information-sharing bill they say will let private companies help the government spy on the American public.
 
They’re troubled by the Cyber Intelligence Security Protection Act (CISPA), which passed the House of Representatives last year but failed to get through the Senate. House members Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberg are hoping to have more success passing it this year. They re-introduced the legislation at a cyber security talk in Washington Wednesday.
 
Supporters say CISPA will help the government defend private companies and federal agencies from cyber attacks from countries like Iran and China, as well as hacker groups like Anonymous. 
 
"American industry is under attack, costing our country and our economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs,” Ruppersberger said in a statement. “ We need to do everything we can to enable American companies to defend themselves against these devastating cyber attacks. Our bill does just that by permitting the voluntary sharing of critical threat intelligence while preserving important civil liberties."
 
Not everyone is convinced.
 
The American Civil Liberties Union says the bill allows companies to turn over sensitive Internet records to the National Security Agency and the Defense Department without making a reasonable effort to protect the public’s privacy.
 
Sharon Bradford Franklin of The Constitution Project told The Washington Post the bill is “flawed.” She expressed concern about what information companies can hand over to the government, saying “Congress must also address the very real threat this legislation poses to Americans' privacy rights and civil liberties.”
 
The ACLU is urging the public to fight for its right to online privacy.
 
“If the House wants smart cyber legislation that also protects privacy, it needs to ensure that the programs are civilian-led, minimize the sharing of sensitive personal information between government and corporations, and protect collected information from non-cyber uses,” the group said.
 
Criticism of the bill swelled on Twitter Wednesday.
The bill is identical to the one that passed the House last year. It will allow the federal government to provide classified cyber threat information to private companies; allow U.S. businesses to share cyber threat information with the government and other companies; and provide liability for companies that share or receive such information.
 
CISPA’s re-introduction came just a day after President Barack Obama signed a new cybersecurity executive order that will also let the government share information about cyber threats with private companies involved in key infrastructure, like banking, communication, power and transportation. 
 
The order sounds very similar to the controversial CISPA, but the ACLU actually praised the president’s action.
 
“An executive order by definition cannot take away the privacy protections granted by current statutes,” the ACLU said in a statement. “In other words, the [executive order] cannot exempt companies from privacy statutes, or let the government collect new information. It can only act within its existing power to change policies and practices.”
 
CISPA must still be approved by both the House and the Senate to become law. And even then, the president has veto power, a power he threatened to use last year when the bill made its way through Congress.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid