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Obama administration criticizes CISPA, says president urged to veto

Obama administration criticizes CISPA, says president urged to veto

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration issued a sharp critique of a cyber security bill proposed by a Republican congressman on Thursday, and said the president's advisers would urge him to veto it should it pass Congress.

H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which was introduced by Rep. Mike J. Rogers, R-Mich., in November, amends the National Security Act of 1947 to add provisions concerning cyber threat intelligence and information sharing.

A statement issued last week by Rep. Rogers, says the bill “helps the private sector defend itself from advanced cyber threats without imposing any new federal regulations or unfunded private sector mandates and contains protections for privacy and civil liberties.

“This approach not only creates new private sector jobs for cyber security professionals, but it also protects the thousands of jobs created by the American intellectual property that Chinese hackers are trying to steal every day.”

The bill passed the House intelligence committee on December 1 with a bipartisan vote of 17-1.

A statement issued by Rep. Rogers Tuesday said several additional significant changes have been made to the bill to address privacy groups' concerns.

Among the changes, the bill provides “clear authority” to the federal government to “undertake reasonable efforts to limit the impact on privacy and civil liberties of the sharing of cyber threat information with the government.”


Another amendment significantly tightens the bill's current limitation on the federal government's use of cyber threat information that is voluntarily provided by the private sector, according to Rep. Rogers' statement.

The statement says the bill has a wide range of supporters, including Facebook, Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But the Obama administration's “statement of administration policy,” which was issued Wednesday, says the Rogers bill “fails to provide authorities to ensure that the nation's core critical infrastructure is protected while repealing important provisions of electronic surveillance law without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality, and civil safeguards.”

Among other criticisms, the Obama administration statement said the bill “would inappropriately shield companies from any suits where a company's actions are based on cyber threat information identified, obtained or shared under this bill, regardless of whether that action otherwise violated Federal criminal law or results in damage or loss of life.”

The statement said the administration's own draft legislation, which was submitted in May “provided for information sharing with clear privacy protections” as well as authority for the federal government to “ensure that the nation's critical infrastructure operators are taking the steps necessary to protect the American people.”

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