Back in April, the House once again passed CISPA – a controversial cybersecurity bill that would allow the government to share information with private companies and vice versa. At the time, opponents said it didn’t have enough privacy safeguards to prevent the NSA from nabbing subscriber data, but recent revelations regarding the agency have already shown such actions to be taking place. Since then, CISPA has been all but forgotten, but one of its biggest proponents isn’t going to let it die.
House Intelligence Chairman and NSA defender Mike Rogers recently spoke at a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The topic of CISPA and how it’s fairing in light of the recent NSA leaks obviously came up. Instead of painting a picture of doom and gloom for his legislation, Rogers simply said that CISPA is “a little ill.” He’s confident, however, that the bill is “not dead yet.”
That’s certainly one way to put it, but CISPA is pretty much dead. The Senate, despite Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein’s best efforts, has pretty much dropped the legislation, and is instead working on its own cybersecurity legislation. The new bill, being drafted by Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, wouldn’t allow the government and companies to share data. Instead, it would set up voluntary standards and best practices that power plants and other critical infrastructure would be encouraged to follow.
Despite this, Rogers is still confident that Feinstein, his counterpart in the Senate, will succeed in crafting a Senate version of CISPA. He’s also working to rewrite some parts of his own bill to address some of the concerns that privacy proponents have brought forward in light of the NSA leaks.
Of course, any improvements from Rogers or Feinstein should be taken with a grain of salt as both are staunch defenders of the NSA. Feinstein, in particular, has said she would introduce legislation that would make the NSA more transparent, but would otherwise leave the agency’s many controversial surveillance programs, including its bulk collection of Americans’ cellphone metadata, fully intact.
In short, the same people who say the NSA has done nothing wrong are moving ahead with legislation that would fully legalize the act of private companies handing over your data to the NSA all in the name of cybersecurity. After all, hackers and terrorists are apparently the most dangerous threat facing this country – not an incompetent Congress.[Image: Mike Rogers/Facebook] [h/t: The Hill]