December 15, 2015, Washington D.C. — This afternoon, in anticipation of the forthcoming text of the omnibus spending bill, the Niskanen Center signed on to a letter asking that Speaker Paul Ryan exclude provisions dealing with cybersecurity information sharing. Along with FreedomWorks, the R Street Institute, and TechFreedom, the Niskanen Center is opposed to the inclusion of this language, as it would do little to address the real underlying concerns associated with strengthening America’s online security.
“The extra-procedural route that Congress took in negotiating this bill is concerning,” said Ryan Hagemann, the Niskanen Center’s technology and civil liberties policy analyst. “Chairman McCaul, the author of one of the better bills included in the conference process, was kept at arm’s length in the negotiations. Even more concerning is that Congress is seeking to rush this legislation to the President by including it as a tag-along in the omnibus spending bill. Given how contentious cybersecurity information sharing legislation has been over the past half year, this is the wrong way to go about voting on legislative text that will be so impactful on Americans’ online security and privacy.”
As noted in the letter:
As we and others have consistently stated over the past few months, the provisions contained in many of these bills—in particular those in CISA—are unlikely to increase the government’s ability to detect, intercept, and thwart cybersecurity attacks, yet would decrease accountability and public trust. They are also likely to institute broad, undefined data-collection capabilities even as Congress and the American public have pushed for greater rule of law and accountability at the intersection of national security and privacy.
There is simply no need to rush such controversial provisions into law. These issues deserve full, considered review, which cannot happen when addressed through end-of-year omnibus legislation.
The full text of the letter can be found here.