White House Issues Veto Threat Over CISPA


It looks like President Barack Obama may finally come down on the right side of an issue. According to a statement released yesterday from the White House, President Obama has issued a veto threat over H.R. 624 — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which is more commonly known as CISPA.

“The Administration recognizes and appreciates that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) adopted several amendments to H.R. 624 in an effort to incorporate the Administration’s important substantive concerns,” read the statement from the White House. “However, the Administration still seeks additional improvements and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

The “improvements” mentioned in the statement are the need for greater privacy protections than the bill currently provides for Internet users.

“H.R. 624 appropriately requires the Federal Government to protect privacy when handling cybersecurity information,” noted the statement. “Importantly, the Committee removed the broad national security exemption, which significantly weakened the restrictions on how this information could be used by the government.”

“The Administration, however, remains concerned that the bill does not require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information when sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities,” the White House explained. “Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable – and not granted immunity – for failing to safeguard personal information adequately. The Administration is committed to working with all stakeholders to find a workable solution to this challenge.”

While most agree that more needs to be done to protect the United States from hackers and other cyber threat, it needs to be done in a way that ensures Internet privacy. The bill, as currently, simply doesn’t go far enough to that end. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently noted that CISPA gives immunity to companies that improperly share data with the government.

Additionally, an open letter from academics, engineers, and professionals to lawmakers noted that CISPA “uses vague language to describe network security attacks, threat indicators, and countermeasures, allowing for the possibility that innocuous online activities could be construed as ‘cybersecurity’ threats” and exempts certain laws that protect Internet privacy.

CISPA is expected to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives at some point today. The veto threat from President Obama is unlikely to deter movement. Despite aveto threat last year, the House still pushed the bill through in a 248-168 vote.

C/P: United Liberty


  1. Jackster says:

    To me, this is necessary legislation. It’s a property rights issue, and it is specifically meant to nuance the provisions of the Third Amendment prohibiting the quartering of soliders without consent.

    The property itself is you in cyberspace. Today, we define it as aggregated data of both your electronic identity and how you interact with cyberspace.

    It is also a company or individual’s servers, intellectual property, culture, and motives. CISPA seeks to make the government’s actions legal if the military has to use (and define) your electronic identity or cyber homefront as an asset or a threat in a cyberwarfare.

    The military already has the capability; what’s needed now is the social and legal justification to make sure when the attacks involve americans, that the government can both attack and use the assets of its society as it sees fit to win. That’s exactly what the 3rd amendment sought to protect.

  2. James says:

    “It looks like President Barack Obama may finally come down on the right side of an issue.” Ha.

  3. Obi's Sister says:

    Follow the money. Always.

    “Interests supporting a controversial bill aimed at improving cyber security, set for a House vote Thursday, spent 140 times as much lobbying Congress as those on the other side of the debate and have dozens of former Capitol Hill insiders working on their behalf, an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation’s Reporting Group shows.”

    Read more here – http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/2013/pro-cispa-backers-spend-over-100-times-more-lobbying-opponents/

  4. seenbetrdayz says:

    Well, I’ve thought about this quite a bit and I’m a supporter of intellectual property, but I also realize that the internet is one of the last-standing bastions for free-speech existing in the world today. Think about it, every outbreak of chaos & government crackdown in the middle east and elsewhere, nearly always comes to us in the form of someone’s cellphone capturing soldiers beating reporters to death. With the internet, a grainy, 30-second video upload to the internet spreads like wildfire. It is the only tool that can put the common man on equal footing with petty tyrants, at least in terms of spreading information.

    Unless . . . such governments have absolute control over the internet.

    And if ‘security’ is the excuse they will use to move us in that direction, then, I predict CISPA will crackdown on freedom not seen since the passage of the PATRIOT act. As much as I would like to see people buy videos instead of pirating them, I tend to view gov’t abuse of control, as the greater and more insidious threat of the two.

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