CISPA 'dead' in Senate, privacy concerns cited

CISPA 'dead' in Senate, privacy concerns cited

Summary: The chairman of a key Senate committee cited "insufficient" privacy protections in the cybersecurity bill, recently passed by the House. A new report says the Senate is drafting separate bills.

TOPICS: Security, Privacy
CISPA's passing will lead to a second round of debate and amendments in the U.S. Senate, which a year ago the same Bill stalled in favor of the upper house's own draft of cybersecurity legislation. (Image: CNET)

The Senate will almost certainly kill a controversial cybersecurity bill, recently passed by the House, according to a U.S. Senate Committee member.

The comments were first reported by U.S. News on Thursday.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said in a statement on April 18 that CISPA's privacy protections are "insufficient."

A committee aide told ZDNet on Thursday that Rockefeller believes the Senate will not take up CISPA. The White House has also said the President won't sign the House bill

Staff and senators are understood to be "drafting separate bills" that will maintain the cybersecurity information sharing while preserving civil liberties and privacy rights. 

Rockefeller's comments are significant as he takes up the lead on the Commerce Committee, which will be the first branch of the Senate that will debate its own cybersecurity legislation.

Michelle Richardson, legislative council with the American Civil Liberties Union, told the publication she thinks CISPA is "dead for now," and said the Senate will "probably pick up where it left off last year."

The Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act, commonly known as CISPA, permits private sector companies — including technology firms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft, among others — to pass "cyber threat" data, including personal user data, to the U.S. government.

This means a company like Facebook, Twitter, Google, or any other technology or telecoms company, including your cell service provider, would be legally able to hand over vast amounts of data to the U.S. government and its law enforcement — for whatever purpose it deems necessary — and face no legal reprisals.

Civil liberties groups have called CISPA a "privacy killer" and "dangerously vague," and warned that it may be in breach of the Fourth Amendment.

After CISPA passed the House the first time last year, the Senate shelved the bill in favor of its own cybersecurity legislation. Following today's statements, the Senate is edging closer to repeating its actions for a second time.

Correction: an earlier version of this story identified Rockefeller as a Senator (D) for New York. He represents West Virginia.

Topics: Security, Privacy

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  • WHy is there no rule against this crap?

    They are just going to keep trying to pass the same bill with minor changes over and over until people get bored with fighting it.

    There needs to be a law that says that if this many people (and the constitution) say it is no good, then you can't try to pass it again for a long time. It's fairly obvious that they are going to pass this crap no matter what the people think eventually.
    • agreed

      Agreed! and they should all be removed from office! And... oh, who is supposed to do that?
      • We're supposed to remove them...

        ...assuming we think they deserve it. Mind you, this might involve crossing party lines, which appears to be unthinkable for many people (which is what lobbyists and party hacks rely on).
        John L. Ries
        • Until the Republican party wake up and stop being the party of racists

          No, we are not going to 'cross party lines' ever again and work with them. The Republican Party is way too far to the right today, with the Democrat party today being not all that far from them.

          We need a true LEFT leaning choice in this country but I don't see us getting that.
          • Until people stop making blatantly rediculous statements like that...

            It will be hard to come together on anything.
            We don't need any laws passed to invade on our constitutional rights and CISPA is one of them, and so is the Patriot Act (which, by the way, was supported by both parties).
          • Deal with people as they are

            There is a lot of this country where even centrist Democrats like myself are almost unelectable (like southern Utah, where I live). You may not like that and I may not like that, but if you want to move the country leftward (or any other direction), then you need to persuade people that that's where the country needs to go; this involves reasoning with people, instead of insulting them. Whining does no good at all; nor does preaching to the choir. And even people supposedly at opposite ends of the political spectrum can sometimes find issues on which they agree; note the current effort by Sens. Leahy and Lee to prohibit warrantless e-mail searches.

            But my real point is that *voters* need to be willing to cross party lines (vote for the best candidate, regardless of party, no matter what). Iron clad party loyalty mostly facilitates corruption, which is the last thing we need.
            John L. Ries
        • Thinkable doable and how!

          Politicians are individuals the party line is not helping its imposing an agenda an athoritive restriction on the people who should be free of influence to represent their voters and principles. Party means nothing to me. I will talk to anyone about the issues that really matter. I am an American. Political party is a bad joke perpertrated everywhere it is only the free who decide elections not the party regulars.
    • right, until

      they shoot down a bill that you desperately want passed, and then that bill is locked out for "a very long time".
    • Nothing new

      The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance.
  • It's not dead

    It's not dead and I just don't know why people keep saying this.

    As soon as your attention goes away (e.g., when the next explosion happens (false flag), or the next Dorner, or the next Syria announcement, or whatever, the lobbyists, and Senators, will work together to get this thing right back on the legislative calendar. For a vote.

    And it will be done quietly -- like all the votes were done during the week of April 15-19 (the week of the Boston, Texas, and ricin events, when NOBODY was paying attention to what Congress was doing).

    Pay. Attention.

    Do not accept reporters' stories and people's opinions from the Hill as gospel that "CISPA is going away" because lobbyists on K street, corporations, industry, the 'government,' that is to say, the corporation state, does NOT sink millions and millions not to mention THOUSANDS (at least) of hours into this matter simply to watch it disappear after a couple of tries without a whisper.

    It will come back in a week, or perhaps in a month, or less.

    This is where you can track it -- look up -- select Bill Number -- and check H.R. 624 as the bill number.. Keep doing this... you may be surprised to find the status may suddenly change. If it does or if you hear someone who tracks these matters on the Hill mention H.R. 624's status change, that's CISPA, that's moving, and it's headed for a vote.

    You can also help spread awareness about the need to keep an eye on CISPA by spreading this tweet:

    Use that tweet. Please spread it. Thank you.

  • When you mess with freedom, you pay the price!

    CISPA is dead! Share this image!
    RiPE Technologies
  • Permits - or compels?

    To quite the article: "The Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act, commonly known as CISPA, permits private sector companies — including technology firms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft, among others — to pass "cyber threat" data, including personal user data, to the U.S. government."

    While this says the bill "permits" private sector companies to "pass on" information
    In reality - shouldn't it read - the bill "compels" private sector companies to "pass on" information?
  • Re: Permits - or compels?

    CISPA doesn't force companies to turn over data. It makes it legal for them to do so without violating privacy policies that are currently in force. They don't HAVE to hand over all your data, but they will.

    There is absolutely no "may infringe on the fourth amendment" here. CISPA basically is negating the Constitution, which is in direct violation of both Constitutional law as well as our representatives' oaths of office.

    This will not end until there are none of the "old guard" left to fight it. Then, the new generation will just accept it as the norm.
    Iman Oldgeek
    • It is ONLY permits, and it's only on cyberthreats - I read the bill

      The bill is not talking about the content of your posts or where you've been or what you've read. These are even explicitly EXCLUDED. It is talking about info companies gather pertaining to unauthorized access to/or use of THEIR systems. In other words, somebody attempts to break into my house, I have the right to tell the police. And if the police misuse that info, the guy I said I thought did it is compensated for any damages.
  • It will never pass in it's current form.

    You're worried about your privacy? Allow me to assure you that no one cares what any of you do individually. The people who will really suffer scrutiny when something like this is passed is public figures. Why would you pass a bill like this when you yourself are in the group that is, by a wide margin, the most likely to suffer due to it?
  • This may have been their last failed hail Mary

    There may not be enough time for them to try one more end run. Virtually every day now something like this comes out:
  • What about What about gun registry?

    There would be no need for one if you could simply track social media comments about your attitude on gun ownership. The NRA should be all over these bills.

    How can gun registry get such insane outrage and sharing everything be so quietly accepted when these bills would provide even richer information about one's relationship to, ownership of and attitudes towards guns.
  • This is good

    Now the only thing we have to worry about is Cyber Crime, raiding your identity, your bank accounts, your reputation and the same for Companies.

    Associated press hacked and Stock market declined 80 Billion $$ in 30 seconds and it makes no difference.

    • Wake up. See the big picture.

      These laws are meant for, and only protect the rich.
      • Big picture