Democrat plans privacy amendment to cybersecurity bill

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But civil liberties groups, including the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are campaigning against the bill, warning it would encourage companies to hand over private information to government spy agencies. 

Administration officials have stressed the importance of including strong privacy protections in cybersecurity legislation.

Schiff's amendment would restrict the government's ability to collect personally identifiable information, such as names or birthdays. The amendment would also narrow the purposes for which the government could use the information. 

The measure would adopt language from a separate bill backed by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) for the definition of "cyber threat information."

The Lieberman-Collins bill has the support of the White House and has drawn less intense criticism from privacy groups.    

“It is important to move forward with a cybersecurity bill to address information sharing, but we must make sure that it includes strong protections for the civil liberties and privacy of Americans," Schiff said in a statement. "I believe that my amendment would narrowly tailor the bill to its purpose of protecting us from attacks on our cyber infrastructure and protecting trade secrets while protecting the privacy and civil liberties of ordinary Americans.”

Schiff is a member of the Intelligence Committee, which drafted CISPA.