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Obama administration: CISPA bill must do more to protect privacy

April 11, 2013|By Chris O'Brien
  • A rising tide of electronic attacks has many companies backing new cybersecurity legislation in Congress.
A rising tide of electronic attacks has many companies backing new cybersecurity… (Stephen Morton / Bloomberg )

The Obama administration issued a statement Thursday that indicated it's not likely to support a cybersecurity bill approved by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee this week.

While stopping short of an outright veto threat that many privacy activists may have wanted, the statement made clear that the administration does not believe the bill in its current form does enough to safeguard personal information.

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"We continue to believe that information sharing improvements are essential to effective legislation, but they must include privacy and civil liberties protections, reinforce the roles of civilian and intelligence agencies, and include targeted liability protections," Caitlin Hayden, a National Security Council spokeswoman, said in a statement. "We believe the adopted committee amendments reflect a good-faith effort to incorporate some of the Administration's important substantive concerns, but we do not believe these changes have addressed some outstanding fundamental priorities."

The statement comes one day after the House's Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence met behind closed doors Wednesday to consider the legislation that was sponsored by its chair, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), and the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-Md.).

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2013 or CISPA, was approved by the committee on a vote of 18 to 2, with two Democrats voting against. It now will move to the full House for a vote that could be held as early as next week.

Here's the full text of the statement from Hayden:

"We continue to believe that information sharing improvements are essential to effective legislation, but they must include privacy and civil liberties protections, reinforce the roles of civilian and intelligence agencies, and include targeted liability protections. The Administration seeks to build upon the productive dialogue with Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger over the last several months, and the Administration looks forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that any cybersecurity legislation reflects these principles. Further, we believe the adopted committee amendments reflect a good faith-effort to incorporate some of the Administration's important substantive concerns, but we do not believe these changes have addressed some outstanding fundamental priorities."

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