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CISPA's successor, which civil liberties groups say is still awful for privacy and could threaten net neutrality, is moving forward despite those concerns—the Senate Intelligence Committee passed it yesterday, meaning it'll likely be voted on by the full chamber. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill was approved by a 12-3 vote yesterday. The bill has been changed since its original form—Feinstein says the amendments should assuage the concerns of privacy advocates that say the bill could funnel information about consumers directly to law enforcement, regardless of their involvement in any hacking schemes.
Feinstein and the bill's cosponsor, Saxby Chambliss, brushed aside privacy concerns following the markup, which was closed to reporters and the public, as most important legislative sessions seem to be these days.
"It's not perfect for anybody," Chambliss told reporters after the markup. "But if we take no action, then cyberattacks are going to continue to occur, and there is the potential for the American economy to be severely disrupted."
Feinstein was even more brash: "I don't know what information you would be concerned about that NSA would have in an information-sharing bill," she said.
Well, the way the bill is written—and we haven't seen the final language, because the session was closed—a "cyber threat" can be defined as loosely as a spam email or a high-bandwidth activity. And anyone who poses a "cyber threat" is subject to having their information funneled to the NSA or to local law enforcement.
They [Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union] said there are loopholes that the government can and will exploit, a view that was seconded by Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, two of the lawmakers who voted against the bill."We agree there is a need for information-sharing between the federal government and private companies about cybersecurity threats and how to defend against them," the two said in a statement. "However, we have seen how the federal government has exploited loopholes to collect Americans' private information in the name of security."
"We are concerned that the bill the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reported today lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans, and that it will not materially improve cybersecurity," they added. The bill will march on, anyway.
The bill looks to [...] allow the federal government to trade classified "cyber threat" information with private companies in exchange for companies' "voluntarily" doing the same with its users' data. Feinstein has been one of the NSA's biggest supporters in Congress.
The way CIPA is worded, local police agencies could use companies "voluntary" information sharing to create backdoor, warrantless wiretaps, according to civil liberties experts I spoke with.
The bill allows companies to share user data with local, state, and federal law enforcement that pertains to any sort of criminal activity, a move that would allow the police to forgo the court system to set up a wiretap.
CIPA would, in general, require companies to strip users' identifying information. But if someone is even tangentially related to a "cyber threat," that provision is waved, a loophole that Amie Stepanovich, an attorney with the civil liberties group ACCESS, told me is a "loophole large enough to drive a semi-truck through."
originally posted by: Krazysh0t
Don't worry, it won't pass the House. One of the good things about this severely partisaned congress we have is that the awful bills don't get passed just like the good ones.
The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, would shift responsibility for retaining telephonic metadata from the government to telephone companies. Providers like AT&T and Verizon would be required to maintain the records and let the NSA search them in terrorism investigations when the agency obtains a judicial order or in certain emergency situations. The bill passed on an 303 to 121 vote.