A group of 35 civil society organizations, companies, and security experts have asked President Obama to pledge to veto the controversial cybersecurity bill S. 2588, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (“CISA”) of 2014. These privacy and Internet freedom groups fear that the bill invades the privacy and civil liberties of users.
The Senate Intelligence Committee approved the legislation last week, with an aim to help companies and the government thwart hackers.
“Every week, we hear about the theft of personal information from retailers and trade secrets from innovative businesses, as well as ongoing efforts by foreign nations to hack government networks,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said. “This bill is an important step toward curbing these dangerous cyberattacks.”
However, privacy groups believe that the legislation would give NSA access to even more personal data of Americans.
In a letter sent to Obama Tuesday, Access, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), CREDO, OpenMedia.org and Reddit, among others urged the President to speak out against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which “fails to provide privacy protections for Internet users and allows information sharing in a wide variety of circumstances” that would only end up in harming journalists and whistleblowers.
The letter reads: “CISA fails to offer a comprehensive solution to cybersecurity threats. Further, the bill contains inadequate protections for privacy and civil liberties. Accordingly, we request that you promptly pledge to veto CISA. We also request that you issue a similar veto threat for any future legislation that takes a similar approach on information sharing. A robust approach to cybersecurity is necessary to protect the security of the internet and those who use it.”
“Legislation that focuses exclusively on facilitation of information sharing … jeopardizes the foundation of cybersecurity by improperly pitting human rights against security,” it adds.