White House endorses revised cybersecurity bill


The White House has threatened to veto the House's cybersecurity bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), over concerns that it would violate people's privacy and fail to protect critical infrastructure, such as electric grids and gas pipelines.

The old version of Lieberman's bill, which also had the administration's support, would have required critical infrastructure operators to meet cybersecurity standards. The revised legislation would incentivize, but not force, the companies to meet standards.

The sponsors also added stronger privacy and civil liberties protections.

The administration said it opposes any amendments that would weaken the privacy safeguards or further weaken the critical infrastructure standards.

"The Administration is confident that S. 3414 can improve the Nation's cybersecurity while protecting the privacy, confidentiality, and civil liberties that are central to American values," the White House wrote.

But the White House did urge the Senate to make certain changes to the legislation.

The administration said provisions directing the executive branch to coordinate with foreign governments should be revised to maintain "maintain the president's exclusive constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy."

The statement also said the bill should be revised so as to prevent information about the government's "intelligence sources and methods" from being shared.

Senate Republicans on Thursday indicated they will allow Lieberman's bill to move forward in a procedural vote but haven't committed to passing it.

— This story was updated at 2:30 p.m.