The U.S. House of Representative and Senate has just voted to pass a massive $1.1 trillion spending package to fund federal agencies through next fall. Wrapped into this package was a bill now known as the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, formerly known as CISA (The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act)!
Despite an outcry and campaign by many of the world’s leading security experts and tech companies, led by Fight for the Future, the bill has just passed by 316-113 votes in the House and 65 to 33 in the Senate, because it was wrapped into the larger “omnibus” spending bill that needed to pass to prevent a government shutdown.
As reported by The Intercept, the bill “removes a restriction on direct information sharing with the National Security Agency and the Pentagon; eliminates a restriction on the government’s use of that information for surveillance activities; allows law enforcement to use the information to prosecute any and all crimes; and leaves it up to the individual agencies to scrub personally identifying information when they feel like it.”
The Center for Democracy and Technology has laid out some of the specific problems with CISA in a blog post.
The manner in which the cyber bill was released has caused widespread criticism. The text of the bill was released on Wednesday morning, giving lawmakers 48 hours to review it before the vote. Nathan White, senior legislative manager for Access Now, said that because of the last-minute inclusion, members of Congress “are not even going to know what they’re passing,” he added “We don’t have time to get an informed vote, they’re pulling a fast one on the Senate.”
Here at Golden Frog we are extremely disappointed and alarmed by the passage of this new cybersecurity bill, and we call on President Obama to reject it. The bill is a surveillance bill, and has alarming implications for citizens of the United States. As outlined by Gizmodo: “The worst part about this—beyond the impending privacy shit show—is that CISA isn’t going to make America more secure. What it will do is create a centralized portal of information on millions of Americans—exactly the sort of thing that a clever hacker might try to exploit. ”
More About CISA from the Golden Frog Blog