White House rejects Boehner’s claim Obama wants to control the Internet

An administration official slammed House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday after he claimed President Obama wants to “control the Internet.”

“The administration wants the U.S. government to have less access to information not an unlimited amount as the House Republican leadership and backers of [the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act] propose,” the official said in an emailed statement.

CISPA, which passed the House on Thursday evening, would remove legal barriers that prevent companies from sharing information about cyber threats, but the White House has threatened to veto the bill.

{mosads}The administration said CISPA lacks adequate privacy protections and would encourage companies to hand over people’s personal information to military spy agencies. They also criticized the measure for not including mandatory security standards for critical infrastructure systems, such as electrical grids, banks or chemical plants.

But House Republicans argue that mandatory standards would impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on businesses. 

“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 Thursday.

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.”

But the administration official said, “CISPA would trample the privacy and consumer rights of our citizens while leaving our critical infrastructure vulnerable.”

“We need Congress to address this critical national and economic security challenge while respecting the values of freedom, privacy, openness, and innovation so fundamental to our nation,” the official said.

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