OVERNIGHT TECH: Wyden: White House-backed cybersecurity bill sacrifices privacy

THE LEDE: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) warned on Monday that the Senate's cybersecurity legislation is an "overreaction" that would undermine Americans' right to privacy.

He said the legislation, which is supported by the White House, shares some of the same "defects" as the House's Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

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He said both the House and Senate bills "subordinate all existing privacy rules and constitutional principles to the poorly defined interest of 'cybersecurity.' "

Both bills would remove legal barriers that prevent companies from sharing cyber-threat information with each other and with the government. The Senate bill, which is sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), is widely considered to have stronger privacy protections than CISPA.

But Wyden said the Senate bill should be more specific about what types of data can be shared and which agencies can have access to it. He argued it should be tougher for companies to secure legal immunity under the legislation.

"As they stand, these bills are an overreaction to a legitimate fear," he said. "The American people will respond by limiting their online activities. That’s a recipe to stifle speech, innovation, job creation and social progress."

Leslie Phillips, a spokeswoman for Lieberman, said the senator's staff is working to address the privacy and civil-liberties concerns about the bill.

Wyden said the debate over the cybersecurity bills reminds him of the battle over anti-piracy legislation earlier this year. He said supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act argued that Congress would have to choose between enforcing intellectual property rights and protecting the integrity of the Internet.

"That was a false choice because achieving one should not, and does not, require sacrificing the other," he said.

He said that once again, Congress is presented with a false choice between cybersecurity and privacy.

"There is no sound policy reason to sacrifice the privacy rights of law abiding American citizens in the name of cyber-security, and I will fight any legislation that asks this Senate to make that choice," the Democratic senator said.

Senators to unveil Startup Act 2.0: Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) will join forces with AOL founder Steve Case on Tuesday to unveil the Startup Act 2.0, a bipartisan bill meant to encourage job growth and entrepreneurship.

The bill builds upon the first Startup Act, backed by Moran and Warner last year, which has been strengthened by including provisions of the AGREE Act, sponsored by Coons and Rubio.

The senators plan to introduce and discuss the new bill at a press conference on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

FTC hires privacy adviser: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hired Colorado University Law Professor Paul Ohm on Monday to serve as a senior adviser on consumer protection and privacy issues.

Ohm will take a leave of absence from Colorado University and will begin working at the FTC on Aug. 27 in the Office of Policy Planning.

His academic research focuses on information privacy, computer crime law, intellectual property and criminal procedure. He has previously served in the Justice Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

“Paul’s keen insights on how the law applies to technology and privacy issues will be invaluable to the FTC’s work in these areas,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement. 

Online privacy protection has been a priority for Leibowitz. Over the past year, the FTC has settled charges with Facebook, Google and Myspace over privacy violations. The commission released a report last month on online privacy and urged Congress to enact certain protections into law.

Movie industry hires anti-piracy chief: The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) hired Marc Miller on Monday to oversee the group's international anti-piracy enforcement operations.

As the senior vice president of Internet content protection, Miller will work with the MPAA's lawyers to develop a a civil and criminal litigation strategy to crack down on copyright infringement.

He previously worked as anti-piracy counsel for Nintendo and served in the Justice Department's computer crime unit as the assistant deputy chief for IP litigation.


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