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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora