A senior US lawmaker with 30 years experience in Congress came out hard against CISPA this week, attacking the legislation’s creators for drafting a bill that erodes Internet privacy for Americans.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) condemned the supporters of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) from Capitol Hill on Monday, blaming the bill’s backers for approving legislation that he suggests would do little to thwart cyber terrorism that instead would alienate Americans by being far-too encompassing and poorly architected.
If signed into law, CISPA will allow federal agencies to comb through the personal information and intimate correspondence of anyone in America while also providing protecting to private businesses for aiding in the partnership. The act was drafted under the guise of being a necessity to conquer cyber terrorism but has attracted opponents critical of many of the law’s provisions that hinder free speech and eliminate privacy.
Earlier this year, the US House of Representatives approved CISPA and soon the US Senate will weigh in on the bill. Congress is currently in the midst of considering a plethora of cybersecurity bills to combat a potential attack on America’s online infrastructure that has been all but guaranteed by some of the country’s lawmakers.
On Monday, Sen. Wyden made it clear that he was also one of many opposed to CISPA and other cybersecurity legislation, calling them, “an overreaction to a legitimate fear.”
“It is a fundamental principle of cyber-security that any network whose failure could result in loss of life or significant property should be physically isolated from the Internet,” the senator told his fellow representatives. “Unfortunately many of our critical network operators have violated this principle in order to save money or streamline operations. This sort of gross negligence should be the first target in any cyber-security program – not the privacy of individual Americans.”
Further, Sen. Wyden suggested that implementing the laws drafted under CISPA could create “a Cyber Industrial Complex” that would allow the federal government and its Big Business cohorts to profit off of the personal info of any American with an Internet connection.
Sen. Wyden stressed that, if passed, CISPA will fall short of what its authors hope for because it will drive American citizens away from the Internet.Attacking the bill, the lawmaker said that passing the legislation would be “a recipe to stifle speech, innovation, job creation, and social progress.”
“The American people will respond by limiting their online activities,” predicted the senator.
“I believe these bills will encourage the development of a cyber security industry
that profits from fear and whose currency is Americans private data. These bills create a Cyber Industrial Complex that has an interest in preserving the problem to which it is the solution,” he said.
“Our job is to write a cyber-security bill that protects Americans’ security and their fundamental right to privacy,” continued the senator. “There is no sound policy reason to sacrifice the privacy rights of law abiding American citizens in the name of cyber-security and I will fight any legislation that asks this Senate to make that choice.”
Sen. Wyden is but the latest elected official to publically trash the controversial cybersecurity bill. Presidential hopeful Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) attacked the bill earlier this year by saying it was “Big Brother writ” that exemplified “the federal government’s insatiable desire to control the Internet.” Additionally, the White House has on several instanced reported that the administration’s top advisors will recommend that President Barack Obama vetoes the bill if it makes it to his desk, although the commander-in-chief has fallen short of going on the record to vow as such. The future of the bill in the eyes of the Obama administration is now particularly uncertain following last week’s unexpected resignation of the White House’s cybersecurity coordinator, Howard A. Schmidt, who strongly advocated against CISPA.