The House cybersecurity bill that allows the National Security Agency (NSA) and the military to collect your private internet records is scheduled for an encore appearance on Wednesday. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) will reintroduce the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which news reports say will be the same bill that passed the House of Representatives last year.
That's right, the same bill that allows companies to turn over your sensitive internet records directly to the NSA and the Department of Defense without requiring them to make even a reasonable effort to protect your privacy. The same bill that lets the government use the information it collects for cybersecurity purposes "to protect the national security of the United States"—a concept that is, of course, undefined and incredibly expansive. Here we are, ten months later, with a much-deserved veto threat from the administration, a smarter Senate alternative, and an Executive Order that will address part of the information-sharing issue—yet the House starts with the same old privacy-busting bill as before.
Because of your activism last year, big and important changes were made to the Senate cyber bill, including significant privacy protections. Let's do it again House-side. If the House wants smart cyber legislation that also protects privacy, it needs to ensure that the programs are civilian-led, minimize the sharing of sensitive personal information between government and corporations, and protect collected information from non-cyber uses.
So bone up on what CISPA does, see the many organizations from left to right who have opposed CISPA, compare it to the far better legislation in the Senate, and read why even the Obama administration threatened to veto this bill last year. And get ready to fight for your right to online privacy once again.