House Passes Second Flawed Cybersecurity Information Sharing Bill

Press Release
April 23, 2015

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed, with a vote of 355-63, the Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity information sharing bill, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015 (NCPAA, H.R 1731). Though still flawed, the NCPAA does a significantly better job at protecting Americans’ privacy than the House Intelligence Committee’s bill, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA, H.R. 1560). PCNA is opposed by OTI and 54 other civil society groups and security experts, and raises many serious concerns, including weak requirements to remove personal information, overbroad use authorizations for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and automatic sharing with the NSA.

Though NCPAA does not raise all of the above concerns, OTI opposes it because, like PCNA, it creates sweeping authorizations to share information, monitor users’ activities, and use vaguely defined and potentially dangerous defensive measures, notwithstanding any other law.

Procedurally, PCNA and NCPAA will be combined into one bill, and sent to the Senate for consideration.

“As with the vote on the House Intelligence Committee’s information sharing bill, we are disappointed that Congress is taking up another sweeping authorization for information sharing before addressing the pressing need to rein in the NSA’s bulk collection programs,” says Robyn Greene, Policy Counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute. “It is good that privacy protective amendments were not only allowed to be voted on, but were passed overwhelmingly. This shows that there is support for addressing some of the serious privacy concerns that these bills raise. While additional changes would still need to be made, we hope that as the Senate takes up its own cybersecurity bill, it will build off of the more privacy-protective framework of the bill that passed today rather than the even more flawed Intelligence Committee bill that passed yesterday.”