April 26, 2013
A representative of the Senate committee that would have to hold hearings on the cybersecurity bill CISPA, passed last week by the House, said the committee won’t be taking the legislation up, according to U.S. News. President Obama has threatened a veto, though the Democratic chairman of the committee Jay Rockefeller, certainly echoes the administration when he says CISPA is nevertheless important.
The White House’s veto threat, meanwhile, isn’t couched in a call to limit federal power, nor even in a defense of privacy, but to make sure corporations are “held accountable.” The White House is satisfied that the legislation charges the federal government with protecting privacy, essentially policing itself, but also wants corporations to be required to remove certain personal information from data shared with the federal government.
But the problem with CISPA is the sharing of data itself; terms of service govern the privacy of data shared voluntarily between consumers and corporations. As supporters of CISPA claim those corporations want this legislation, the solution would seem not to require it. Companies are free to include provisions in their privacy policies allowing for data sharing with the governments, just as consumers are free to reject them. As for the companies themselves, their cybersecurity would seem to be their responsibility, not an excuse to extend federal powers into the private sector. Hacking and other cyberattacks are already federal crimes after all.