CISPA is cyber-security legislation that is meant to defend companies from cyber attacks and theft. It would amend the 1947 National Security Act to allow the Director of National Intelligence to define how classified information would be shared.
The bill, sponsored by Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut), originally did not specify which government agencies the Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) would disclose customer data to, with data likely going to the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense’s Cybercommand.
Private industry was exempt from liability for sharing the information. They were exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Critics claimed that the bill was too broad and would supersede all laws protecting privacy while shifting control from civilian agencies to the government.
While a CISPA bill passed the House with 206 Republican votes and a promise by President Obama to veto it, the Senate bill was blocked by Republicans and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, because they saw it as a backdoor to government regulations.
A revised CISPA bill met with Republican demands for less government regulation and it met civil liberty advocates’ concerns (as of July of this year). Harry Reid planned to take it up in the upcoming session and is on the calendar.
So why is Obama now going to take over with an executive order?
President Obama is not going to wait for the Senate to discuss it. He is preparing a CISPA-style executive order.
There is a danger that Obama will assume power normally reserved for the legislative branch.
Another concern is that he will implement the beginnings of government control over the Internet with this Executive Order, which has already been drafted.
Obama recently had his minions, Jay Rockefeller and Dianne Feinstein, send him a request to act immediately.
The leaked EO draft mandates that DHS create a council (more bureaucrats) that will work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to set up cybersecurity standards.
Brennan said it will protect the country’s critical infrastructure and will call for minimum performance standards only. We’ll see.
It will begin as a voluntary program with few incentives. I’m sure that will work. I can just see all the companies jumping to have Big Government tell them what to do with few incentives.
The EO has already been sent to federal agencies for their feedback and will then be resubmitted within a week – sounds like they’re really taking the feedback seriously (irony here). Obama is blaming congressional gridlock and the critical need for it (another crisis) as the reasons for his power grab.
If you think this is up-in-the-air, think again, the DHS councils are already in place and the Department of Defense, the Commerce Department, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, among others, are included in the ongoing discussions.
My problem is not as much with the idea of such a bill as the fact that the President is usurping the powers of Congress. He is doing this as the Senate is reaching consensus on a bill that looks acceptable to most.
Read more at The Hill