Boehner says Obama wants government to 'control the Internet'

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) fired back at President Obama on Thursday after the White House threatened to veto a House cybersecurity bill.

“The White House believes the government ought to control the Internet, government ought to set standards and government ought to take care of everything that’s needed for cybersecurity," Boehner said during his weekly press conference.

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The White House threatened to veto the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) on Wednesday, saying the House bill would undermine privacy and would fail to protect critical infrastructure systems.

CISPA would tear down legal barriers that prevent companies from sharing information about cyber threats, but the White House warned it could lead companies to hand over their users' private information to spy agencies.

The White House has endorsed an alternative cybersecurity bill from Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) that includes tougher privacy protections and would empower the Homeland Security Department to set mandatory security standards for critical infrastructure systems, such as electrical grids, banks or telecommunication networks.

"The Congress must also include authorities to ensure our Nation's most vital critical infrastructure assets are properly protected by meeting minimum cybersecurity performance standards," the White House said in its veto threat. "Voluntary measures alone are insufficient responses to the growing danger of cyber threats."

But Boehner warned that "we can’t have the government in charge of our Internet."

He said CISPA and other cybersecurity bills the House will vote on this week are "commonsense steps that will allow people to communicate with each other, to work together, to build the walls that are necessary in order to prevent cyber terrorism from occurring."

"There are more steps that are going to have to be taken beyond these, but this is a fundamentally different approach than what the White House and some want to do in terms of creating this monster here in Washington that could control what we’re going to see or not see on the Internet," Boehner said.

— Russell Berman contributed