Update: House Intelligence panel OKs CISPA after closed door meeting

Controversial information-sharing bill heads to vote by full House possibly next week

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Rogers and Ruppersberger have also rejected claims that the bill is too loose in its definition of "cyber threat information," and that it would give government agencies such as the National Security Agency unfettered access to read private email and other communication belonging to Internet users.

Susan Phalen, a spokeswoman for Rogers, today also explained the reason why the markup hearing was off limits to the public and the press. She said members of the House Intelligence Committee needed to be in a location where they could discuss classified cyber threat information related to the markup of the bill.

"With the exception of those classified discussions, the markup is considered open," Phalen told Computerworld. "The members of the committee can speak publicly about the proceedings in the markup, and the committee will file a report on the open markup."

Phalen said the committee will also release additional details on the proceedings, the amendments that were offered during the meeting, and the final marked up version of the bill.

Among the amendments that were included in the bill that was voted up today was one that would require the government to strip away any private information they receive from companies participating in information sharing, said a report in The Hill. The Intelligence Committee has also decided to eliminate language that would permit the government to use information gathered from private companies for national security purposes.

Such reassurances, however, have done little to appease the bills critics in the past.

In a blog post published before todays vote, EFF staff attorney Mark Jaycox brushed aside some of the claims made by the bill's authors in recent weeks. He insisted that the language in CISPA allows for ISPs and others to share any information, including personal information with each other and the government under the context of cybersecurity.

He also noted that CISPA would create a loophole that would allow companies to disclose personal information to the government and give them broad legal immunity when they do so. "CISPA encourages companies to conduct surveillance on their networks and hand 'cyber threat information' to the government. In short, the bill encourages a de facto private spying regime, with the same end result," Jaycox wrote.

Concerns about the bill are likely to be exacerbated by a recent analysis showing that CISPA supporters have donated far more in campaign contributions to lawmakers in Washington compared with opponents of the bill.

The analysis, by MapLight, a non-partisan watchdog group that monitors campaign contributions, shows that interest groups supporting CISPA, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and most large ISPs, gave $55 million to members of the U.S. House of Representatives between July 2010 and June 2012.

Meanwhile, groups opposing CISPA, such as the ACLU, EFF, the Center for Media and Democracy and others, gave $4 million to House lawmakers over the same period. On average, House members received 13 times more money in campaign contributions from CISPA supporters than from those opposes to the bill, MapLight reported.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com.

See more by Jaikumar Vijayan on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon