Rep. Adam Schiff announced on Friday that he would be introducing a pro-privacy amendment to CISPA that would force companies to remove any identifiable information from data it shares with the government. Surprisingly enough, the bill’s authors seem to be taking this amendment, and other pro-privacy amendments, seriously.
The Hill reports that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger will be adding a number of amendments to CISPA during its markup this week. Rogers insists that CISPA is “not a surveillance bill” and the proposed amendments will reportedly clear up any misconceptions people have about it.
So, what kind of misconceptions will these amendments clear up? The first would strictly limit what government agencies could use the collected information for. Opponents suggest the current CISPA would allow government agencies to use collected information for non-national security purposes. The amendment would make it clear that any information collected under CISPA must be used only for national security purposes.
Another amendment would make sure companies are held to the same standard as government agencies. In other words, it would require companies to use any information they receive from government agencies for cybersecurity purposes only.
One of the more interesting amendments would forbid companies from launching retaliatory attacks against those who launch attacks against them. It’s not exactly a pro-privacy amendment, but it would help keep trigger happy companies under check while the authorities investigate cyberattacks.
Privacy proponents are obviously happy to see CISPA being improved, but they still have one major issue with the bill. They feel that any information obtained by the government should be sent to a civilian agency, like the Department of Homeland Security. The current bill isn’t exactly clear on which agency companies would share information with, but one interpretation sees CISPA allowing companies to share information directly with NSA, a spy agency with little governmental oversight.
The currently proposed amendments don’t address all the problems, but it shows that the House Intelligence Committee is at least wanting to address some of the problems privacy proponents have with CISPA. That’s more than what the committee did last year as it passed CISPA without even allowing arguments for proposed amendments to be heard.