OVERNIGHT TECH: House passes CISPA cybersecurity bill

The House approved five amendments backed by the bill's authors, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), to address the concerns of privacy advocates. The amendments would tighten limitations on how the government can use the information it collects and narrow the definition of "cyber threat information." The changes would also restrict the scope of liability protections for companies that turn over data to the government.

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The House also approved an amendment to ensure that the Freedom of Information Act would still apply to regulatory information shared as part of the bill. Lawmakers unanimously approved an amendment from Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) to prohibit the federal government from collecting library records, firearms sales records and tax returns under the bill.

But the House rejected an amendment from Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) that would allow public critical infrastructure, such as airports, utilities and public transit systems, to receive the cybersecurity information. 

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, CTIA-the Wireless Association, the Software & Information Industry Association, IBM, the Business Roundtable and TechAmerica all issued statements applauding lawmakers within minutes of the House vote.

From TechAmerica’s President and CEO Shawn Osborne:

“With the bipartisan passage of CISPA, there has been a critical step forward in the cybersecurity of this country. We applaud the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. Ruppersberger (D-MD), for their leadership and continued willingness to work with all the interested stakeholders to make changes to the bill through a series of amendments that will ensure strong privacy protections and international cooperation. These positive improvements provide clear momentum for Senate action on cybersecurity and should address any privacy concerns outlined by the Administration.

“We strongly urge the Senate to swiftly take up this issue because the United States cannot afford to wait to improve our nation’s cybersecurity posture. Standing pat will only further risk our national security.”

But privacy advocates slammed the vote and said CISPA will lead companies to hand over people's private information to the government.

“CISPA goes too far for little reason,” said Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy. As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back. We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity.”

The Center for Democracy and Technology worked with lawmakers to draft the privacy amendments adopted on Thursday, but criticized the House for blocking votes on amendments that would have further addressed their concerns.

The Center for Democracy and Technology said:

"CDT is disappointed that CISPA passed the House in such flawed form and under such a flawed process. 

"We worked very hard in cooperation with the Intelligence Committee to develop amendments to narrow some of the bill's definitions and to limit its scope. We are very pleased that those amendments were adopted, leaving the bill better for privacy and civil liberties than it was going into the process. 

"However, we are also disappointed that House leadership chose to block amendments on two core issues we had long identified — the flow of information from the private sector directly to NSA and the use of that information for national security purposes unrelated to cybersecurity. [Lawmakers] wrote amendments to address those issues, but the leadership did not allow votes on those amendments. Such momentous issues deserved a vote of the full House. We intend to press these issues when the Senate takes up its cybersecurity legislation.  

"We will continue to work to oppose any cybersecurity legislation that does not also protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans."

House approves Issa's FISMA bill: Just a few minutes after voting on CISPA, the House unanimously approved Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) bill to amend the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). The changes would provide for stronger oversight of the security of federal computer systems.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said President Obama's threat to veto CISPA felt like a kick in the gut.

Google agreed to pay the FCC's fine, but disputed the agency's conclusion that Google did not cooperate with the investigation.

Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would auction off some government spectrum. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) claimed Obama wants to "control the Internet."