House Passage of Intelligence Committee’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Bill is Bad for Privacy, Bad for Information Security

Press Release
April 22, 2015

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed the House Intelligence Committee’s bill, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA, H.R. 1560), with a vote of 307 to 116. The bill would authorize companies to share so-called “cyber threat indicators” with the government and with one another. OTI strongly opposes the PCNA, and recently joined a group of 55 civil society organizations, security experts and academics in a letter to Congress raising serious concerns and urging a “No” vote.

A detailed analysis of the PCNA is available here. The coalition letter opposing the PCNA is available here.

"It's disappointing that instead of acting to rein in NSA's bulk collection of Americans' records, the House has approved a bill that would dangerously expand NSA access to our information," says Robyn Greene, Policy Counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute.

"Saying that this legislation isn't about surveillance doesn't make it so - the proof is in the bill text. This bill not only does a dismal job of protecting Americans' personal information, it would also allow the NSA and the FBI to use any of the information it receives to investigate a myriad of crimes that have nothing to do with cybersecurity. This bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, doing at least as much to enable cyber-surveillance as to enhance cybersecurity-related information sharing," she continued.

"It's not even clear that this bill will do anything to enhance cybersecurity. Dozens of leading security experts oppose this legislation because it would undermine privacy and create new security risks. One thing is clear though - whatever benefit, if any, that this bill might yield would likely pale in comparison to the threat that these over-broad authorizations pose to privacy and civil liberties," she concluded.