News / USA

Privacy Advocates Prepare New Fight Against US Cyber Bill

x
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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid