Damn it all. I was writing a link round-up about all the to-and-fro in the CISPA sausage-making and all the good news I’d heard, when I got the news — Mike Rogers (R-MI) got it put to a last-second rush vote at the end of the day and it passed as-is, rejecting all proposed amendments, scuttling everything I had written.
[I]t would usher in a new era of information sharing between companies and government agencies — with limited oversight and privacy safeguards. The House Rules committee yesterday rejected a series of modestly pro-privacy amendments, which led a coalition of civil-liberties groups to complain that “amendments that are imperative won’t even be considered” in a letter today.
That prompted some politicians, including House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), to reluctantly oppose the bill. Schiff said that because his proposed amendments were rejected, he had to vote against CISPA “due to my concerns about civil liberties and the privacy of Americans.”
What made CISPA so controversial is a section saying that, “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information with Homeland Security, the IRS, the NSA, or other agencies. By including the word “notwithstanding,” CISPA’s drafters intended to make their legislation trump all existing federal and state laws, including ones dealing with wiretaps, educational records, medical privacy, and more.
The White House has outright stated that advisors would tell the President to veto the bill should it pass without those now-rejected safeguards in place. Granted, I don’t have a lot of faith that Obama’s administration is necessarily on the side of the angels on this one, but at least there’s some pretense that they are trying to do right by us common folk. Maybe, MAYBE, Obama will kill this bill. Then again, he probably won’t want to look soft on cyberterrorism, so I’m sure the last vestiges of privacy will be signed away in due course.
Previous coverage at my blog — you know, in case you’re curious as to just how horrible this is.
Edit: Right, right, it has to pass the senate too. So there’s two hurdles for it to clear yet.