Senators Burr and McConnell Try to Ram Through CISA Without Regard to Process or Privacy Concerns

Press Release
June 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC — Tonight, Senator Burr, with Senator McConnell’s support, introduced the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA, S. 754) as an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.

New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) strongly opposes CISA because it would:

  • Increase government access to innocent Americans’ personal data;

  • Enhance the NSA’s access to Americans’ private information and undermine civilian control of domestic cybersecurity;

  • Undermine Americans’ rights to privacy and due process;

  • Permit companies to monitor all of Americans’ online communications and activities; and

  • Authorize companies to retaliate against suspected threats, even if such action would violate the anti-hacking statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

An in-depth analysis of CISA is available here, and a one-page backgrounder is available here. Additionally, a coalition letter led by OTI and signed by 55 civil society groups and security experts opposing CISA is available here.

The following statement can be attributed to OTI Policy Counsel, Robyn Greene:

"Last week, the Senate made history when it passed the USA FREEDOM Act, taking a major step forward for Americans' privacy. Passing CISA would be like taking two steps back. CISA is essentially a cyber-surveillance bill that would empower the NSA and FBI by giving them access to vast new troves of Americans’ information, and let them use that information for investigations that have nothing at all to do with cybersecurity."

“In addition to our serious substantive concerns - there are some pretty big procedural concerns here too. Senator McConnell has clearly forgotten his promise to run the Senate in a way that encourages debate and reasonable process. For the second time in a month he is trying to ram through a controversial bill - and just like his attempts at a straight Patriot Act reauthorization, this will fail too.”