Some Dems Reject CISPA as Currently ConstitutedDear Colleague letter seeks others to oppose bill if it is not amended to address more privacy concerns 4/15/2013 03:10:28 PM Eastern
Ranking House Communications Subcommittee member Anna Eshoo
and some Democratic colleagues warned Monday that the Cyber Information Sharing
and Protection Act (CISPA) would need more changes or they cannot support it.
The bill can probably pass the House without their support,
but their concerns signal the sort of Democratic pushback that stalled a
similar bill in the House last session.
In a Dear Colleague letter being circulated on the Hill,
Eshoo and fellow Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.), Janice Schakowsky
(Ill.) and Rush Holt (New Jersey) said that the bill, while improved, still
falls short of the mark.
That letter came despite changes
to the bill by its Republican and Democratic co-sponsors last week in an
attempt to address the concerns of Eshoo and others. The bill
is expected to be debated on the House floor this week.
Eshoo and the others said that the bill lacks three key
It does not require companies sharing information with the
government or other companies to anonymize that data.
- It would allow information to be shared directly between private companies and
- It provides a "sweeping" limitation on liability for sharing
information in good faith. "The breadth of conduct thus immunized is
considerable and may protect companies who take negligent or reckless action in
response to a cyberthreat or who fail to take any step to remove personal
information prior to sharing," the Democrats say, arguing that it needs to
The legislators plan to introduce amendments in the Rules
Committee before the House takes up the bill. If those are not adopted by the
House, they say, "we intend to oppose the legislation, and urge Members
concerned about civil liberties and privacy to do the same." Privacy
activists have not been assuaged by Republican amendments. Reddit cofounder
Alex Ohanian last week teamed with Fight for the Future on a video and petition
calling on Google, Internet powerhouses to fight the bill, saying CISPA would
Google, for its part, was not ready to either bury the bill
or praise it.
"We do think this is an important issue and
we're watching the process closely," said a Google spokesperson, "but
we haven't taken a formal position on any specific legislation."