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Senate committee passes CISA cybersecurity bill that could broaden NSA powers

Published time: July 08, 2014 22:45
Edited time: July 08, 2014 23:57
Senator Dianne Feinstein.(Reuters / Gary Cameron)

Senator Dianne Feinstein.(Reuters / Gary Cameron)

New cybersecurity legislation cleared the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday during a closed session. Critics fear it may broaden the NSA’s already formidable access to Americans’ data.

Written by Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), CISA – or Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act – is widely seen as a redux of last year’s CISPA bill, which was widely protested by online privacy watchdogs and ultimately defeated in Congress.

A draft of the bill circulated in June granted permission by government agencies to retain and share data for “a cybersecurity purpose,” which was defined as “the purpose of protecting an information system or information that is stored on, processed by or transiting an information system from a cybersecurity threat or security vulnerability.” According to the Guardian, that language would likely lead the NSA to stockpile weaknesses in digital security.

The legislation, which was approved by the committee by a vote of 12 to 3, would allow private firms to share information regarding cyber-attacks “in real time.” It would also shield those firms from lawsuits by individuals against those companies for sharing data with each other, and with the US government, regardless of terms of service contracts that may prevent such actions without a customer’s consent.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is joined by like-minded watchdogs such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation in panning CISA, the legislation’s “catch-all provisions” would seem to allow the collection of the content of communications, rather than just malicious code. “That's one of the biggest concerns," Gabriel Rottman, an attorney with the ACLU, told the Guardian.

CISA now heads to the full Senate for a vote, though it faces the hurdle of a shortened legislative calendar, as well as mounting opposition by the same groups that prevented passage of similar legislation over the past two years.

Comments (34)


StreetSleeper 10.07.2014 15:44

Love the picture of Diane haha - its like clipping on in Morrowwind - some Wretched Demon lurking in a Dark Cavern of Red Mountain hahaha (looping 8bit breathing sounds)


Luis Munoz 10.07.2014 01:09

These senators are human compromised but it's a last ditch effort. Saxby is on his way out and is doing what little he can to please his pay masters. Same with kahzar false Hebrew Feinstein.


chokedattheworld 09.07.2014 19:39

Are senators and congressmen corrupt? What does the NSA do? It's beginning to look like people are being persuaded to vote in favour of expanding the NSA. I guess when you have every little peice of dirt on everyone thats plugged into cyberland, you hold alot of persuasion. Is there anything/way to stop these criminals?

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