White House threatens to veto new CISPA Bill ahead of vote

White House threatens to veto new CISPA Bill ahead of vote

Summary: The Obama administration has issued another stark warning to the US House currently preparing to vote on a regurgitated cybersecurity Bill. If it passes the president's desk, he's not going to sign it.

TOPICS: Security

Ahead of a vote scheduled for either April 17 or April 18 in the US House of Representatives on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), the White House today issued a statement threatening to veto the Bill altogether.

The US House will vote on the CISPA Bill this week. (Image: CNET)

It repeats a similar sentiment by the Obama administration last year, when CISPA reached as far as passing the House but failed in the upper Senate chamber.

Citing above all else the need to "carefully safeguard privacy and civil liberties", the White House doesn't believe the intelligence sharing Bill, otherwise known as H.R. 624, goes far enough to protect the ordinary rights of citizens.

The key takeaway from the letter states:

The administration recognizes and appreciates that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) adopted several amendments to H.R. 624 in an effort to incorporate the administration's important substantive concerns.

However, the administration still seeks additional improvements, and if the Bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the president, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the Bill.

The controversial Bill cleared the House Intelligence Committee last week, and is expected to go before a wider vote in the coming days. While there were efforts made to amend the Bill with features that would ultimately add safeguards and additional privacy measures, many did not garner enough votes from the committee.

CISPA will allow private sector firms to search personal and sensitive user data of ordinary US residents to identify this so-called "threat information", and to then share that information with each other and the US government — without the need for a court-ordered warrant.

By citing "cybersecurity", private sector firms — including those in the web and technology industry — can hand over private user data, while circumventing existing privacy laws. This means CISPA can be used to permit non-governmental entities to share your data, such as emails, text messages, and cloud-stored documents and files, with the US government and its law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The Bill, if passed into law, will also give these firms legal protection when handing over data.

In April last year, the White House said that President Obama would not sign the Bill — even though it had only just passed the lower house hurdle in Congress — as the Bill "fails to provide authorities to ensure that the nation’s core critical infrastructure is protected while repealing important provisions."

Obama, earlier this year in February, signed a cybersecurity executive order in a bid to create a "framework" between agencies that preserves the privacy and civil liberties of US residents.

The "framework" will effectively allow intelligence to be gathered on cyberattacks and cyberthreats to privately owned critical national infrastructure — such as the private defense sector, utility networks, and the banking industry — so they can better protect themselves, as well as the general US population, the economy, and other nations that are reliant on US support.

The full text of the letter, issued on Tuesday, can be read below.

Topic: Security

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  • Yeah, but...

    The reason he wants to veto it is that it doesn't infringe on our rights nearly enough to satisfy his puppet masters. They'll rework it as something worse and reintroduce it as soon as they can.
    • Were that true...

      ...why would it take more than two tries? Wouldn't it be more efficient for the President to quietly introduce his preferred bill through surrogates?
      John L. Ries
    • NO!

      He is afraid that his past will get out of closet.
  • Just so that you know...

    ...U.S. presidents often issue veto threats early to give Congress the opportunity to fix the parts deemed objectionable.

    As you've probably noticed, the U.S. Congress functions a bit differently than does the British Parliament.
    John L. Ries
  • Old white men don't know

    And why should the GOP, the party of old white men, care about your private use of the internet? They don't even know how to turn a computer on.
    • Always great to hear from the anti-white racists

      This kind of thing is standard from the left now. I don't know how anyone can think of the Democratic Party and its associates as anything other than an anti-white hate party.
      • Reply

        Oh now that's being harsh. They like us just fine when it comes time to pay their bills.
      • Mispunctuated!

        The Democratic party is not an anti-WHITE hate party, it is an anti-WHITE-HATE party. See the difference? If you want to see hate, look in the mirror.
  • Funny

    Much of the blogsphere is filled with ranting about Obama wants to take away all civil rights of the US citizenry. Here he won't support the efforts of Congress to compromise our privacy. (Of course there is still a complaint above, but I ignore those that rely on anger and insult rather than reason.) Really (and I am probably a better shot than you), I think bills like that and the Utah Data Center scare me far more than the thought of losing my guns. When your thoughts are not private and your communication can be manipulated, then guns will not be any aid to preserving freedoms.
    • That's mere partisan politics

      The more you can demonize the opposition, the easier it will be to persuade the faithful to vote straight ticket.
      John L. Ries
      • Demonization wasn't all the parties used....

        There was amnesty, free cell phones, deceased voters, Michelle's vacation to Spain for election rigging, auto bailout for union vote, and far too many other straight ticket reasons. Much of them centered around the GOP will eradicate this or that and you'll lose your pensions, your social security, and whatever else extorted companies and past liberal government policy promised you and your family until every last one of them met their maker. Oh but of course I'm sure the so called "CONSERVATIVE" GOP were the only party to ever promote straight ticket votes. I mean I'm sure they've bought off almost every Hollywood and recording industry celebrity and their associated unions to promote conservative agenda and spout hate for the liberal movement. (sarcasm) I'm also sure by promoting every racial indifference at any given time was to convince minorities to spread the vote for the best candidate for office and not the liberal ticket. Complain about the straight ticket and tell me it wasn't overwhelmingly used by the youthful liberal, the Feminazi afraid for abortion rights, the immigrants seeking amnesty for their families, and so many on government assistance (entitlement programs). I as funny as it sounds, do indeed look for what I consider the best for the job and have voted for many local and even state Democratic candidates, unfortunately many of them and many of the Republican candidates are so lost. I'm now paying much closer attention to 3rd party candidates, and yes I do lean libertarian but I will analyze them with the finest tooth comb and see no wrong leaving many offices blank.
      • Demonize?

        Republicans have demonized themselves by ACTING like demons. Democrats do not HATE Republicans (although some have tried very hard to provoke such hate). We can't help it that REALITY has a liberal bias (thanks, Stephen Colbert, for that saying).

        Example: the fertilizer plant in Texas was ACROSS THE STREET from two schools, a playground, a nursing home, and an apartment complex, AND it had not had a safety inspection in 28 years. The first fact is because Texans HATE zoning laws (as in, who says I can't put my strip bar next door to a school?) and Texans, like other conservatives, HATE regulation, even for safety purposes. As a result, this explosion killed and injured more people than the Boston bombings. But now Gov. Perry and Sen. Cruz (the latter opposed aid to victims of Sandy) want FEDERAL help for THEIR state. Such hypocrisy! But they will probably get it, because "liberals" do not want to punish innocent Texas residents just to make a political point. And note, the "liberal" media just barely turned their cameras away from Boston long enough for a "footnote" on the Texas explosion.

        You want to see hate, look in the mirror.
  • It sounds like

    we need to keep an eye on what is going on in the frist place. To do nothing lets anything happen. As a wise old white man once kept repeating: "The uninformed are easily misinformed" that is how BO was elected in th efirst place and showed a weakness on the GOP's part but putting up such weak candidates in the first place. (It might have been by design on the GOP's part, for all I know). I am a registerd republican, have never voted for a Democrat for president--they haven't put up a candidate worth voting for. In fact neither party has for quite a while. I would have voted for Goldwater, but I was 20 and couldn't vote yet--the voting age then was 21.
    The main point is to keep our congress and president from doing us in. Whether we voted for any of them is not the point they are in office, therefore ours as citizens of this country. We can voice our opinions, vote better next time, pray. No leader is in office without God putting him/her there, we need to pray that they will seek Him in all that they do.
    • "God" put them there?

      I would think that a being with the logical powers necessary to create natural laws and matter wouldn't saddle the US with elected idiots like Michele Bachmann, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert and others.
      • Reply

        and Anthony Weiner, Nancy Pelosi, Charley Rangle, Diane Feinstein, and Maxine Waters and others.
    • I think God lets us make our own choices....

      ...and insists that we take the consequences. If people elect fools, then they have to suffer them while they remain in office.
      John L. Ries
  • 5 STARS

    • The consequences

      Suffering them while in office.
  • I smell a lie coming on again!

    Obviously this editor is not keeping up with current events. Obama is a liar and has done nothing that he said to get elected. If he does veto this I would be amazed and if he does it is like BillDem said, because it does not go far enough for this king!
  • Right to Privacy of US Citizens

    Your article is absolutely on target. I did NOT even know about this bill. Shame on me, but apparently has not made front page news and it SHOULD! If this passes, we have lost all rights to privacy; it finishes what the Patriot Act started. It seems to me that both the government AND corporations can invade our privacy and personal information without our permission or a warrant. The only entity that has no right to access information is "we the people" and we have to jump through hoops and red tape just to get information about ourselves. I think that the President objects to this bill because the government wants to be ultimately in charge and this bill does NOT provide this. The White Houses' explanation is that the government wants to protect rights of citizens.

    I'm NOT buying Congress', the Administration, and private sector companies' reasons we need to enact this legislation. I think GREED for money and power (and control) is the true motivation. I also believe that this legislation and the Patriot Act are unconstitutional.

    This not a left vs. right political issue; both sides are for this type legislation. Corporate America salivates at more profits from having access to this information at their whim and the government wants to have ultimate control. IF WE SURRENDER OUR RIGHTS TO ANYONE, THE TERRORISTS WIN!